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The Evidence Quarter

Shaping futures and crafting change

Our interns reflect on the 2023 Internship Programme   

As the summer of 2023 draws to a close, we are proud to say that the Evidence Quarter Internship Programme has proven to be a transformative experience for its participants. We’ve had nine fantastic interns this year across three organisations based here at the EQ – Foundations, CEI and TASO. This annual program, designed to immerse young minds in the world of research, policy, and social care, has left a lasting impact on both the interns and the organisations they worked with.

The Evidence Quarter Internship Programme provides a diverse range of opportunities. While we have offered primarily research-based roles, many Interns have also taken up positions in policy, communications, practice, and programmes. What unites them is their passion for creating meaningful impact in the world and a desire to understand the intricate workings of the social change sector.

Let’s dive into the insights shared by this year’s interns as they reflect on their journey:

Alexei Russell, Research Intern at CEI:

“Working at CEI these past couple of months or so has been a joy. I’ve managed to work on a real variety of research projects and tasks, from background research to literature extraction to attending workshops with practice experts. What’s really been valuable has been the chance to get familiar with what a social research organisation really does, how it operates, as well as getting a greater understanding of the sectors that we do research in such as education and social care. On top of all of that, the team at CEI have been so supportive and lovely to work with, while also making sure I’m challenging myself and developing my skills. I’m really happy to have been given the opportunity.”

Amber Hassan, Communications Intern at Foundations:

“Working with the Communications Team has been nothing short of a privilege. I have been supported, welcomed, and encouraged by everyone here at Foundations, and learned so much about the wider social care sector. Throughout my time here, I’ve honed essential office-based skills, delved into the intricacies of social media research, and refined my report and blog writing abilities. Additionally, the exposure to organisational dynamics have enhanced my proficiency at essential office tools, ranging from managing spreadsheets and to navigating accessibility features. However, what is truly special about working at Foundations, is seeing the direct positive impact of your hard work. No matter how small, the work you do is making a difference and helping to provide opportunities for children and families. As result, my time at Foundations has been an empowering chapter of my career journey, and I highly recommend this rewarding experience to future interns in the years to come.”

Miles Johnson, Research Intern at TASO:

“These past seven weeks have flown by and I cannot believe how fast it went! Working at TASO has really been so eye opening into the Higher Education sector, and all the research, policy and evaluation that goes on behind the scenes to support Higher Education Providers. All the different projects I was involved with, from Invitations to Tender, to Contextual Admissions and the Ethnic Degree Awarding Gap, have all been decisive in what I choose to spend my last year researching. Being a part of TASO has made me even more ambitious to work in the Education sector after university, to bring about more equal chances for people from similar backgrounds. Moreover, I want to bring about more diversity to the sector, to ensure that people from Mixed race backgrounds, like myself, have an impact and a voice on research and policy that shapes future generations.”

Pippa Jolles, Policy Intern at Foundations:

“My seven weeks interning at Foundations have flown by. At the same time, it feels like a lot has been packed in! I have had the chance to dip my toe into stakeholder engagement, writing briefs, strategy shaping, event planning, amongst other projects. Of course, none of that would have been possible without the ever welcoming, supportive and knowledgeable policy team. I feel increasingly confident now that I want to pursue a career in shaping social policy, and motivated to head into my upcoming masters with a clearer picture of what it might lead to later on.”

Bethan Hoggan, Research Intern at TASO:

“I have loved my time at TASO and the EQ in general. It’s been an amazing experience and getting involved in research and work for such meaningful causes and issues has really made the entire internship just so rewarding. From learning about university funding models to helping judge ITTs and building on our youth engagement, it really has been a summer experience I will treasure forever and the skills I’ve learnt are for life.”

Alexandra Cooper, Research Intern at Foundations:

“Working at Foundations has opened my eyes to the work that happens before it reaches the ground. It is heartwarming to know so much effort and passion goes into creating change and I am very proud that I was able to be a part of it. I now know that there is a name for the career I want, and I am keen to take what I have learned from this experience and go on to complete a Masters qualification in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. During my time here I worked on a project looking at what interventions work for vulnerable families and children in domestic abuse settings and built upon some key skills such as thematic analysis and scoping both quantitative and qualitative research. It was a truly enriching experience and I was able to meet with so many inspirational people. I hope to stay in research and academia in the future and who knows, maybe return one day to Foundations!”

Kamilla Kovacs, Programmes Intern at Foundations:

“The opportunity to work with Foundations as their Programmes Team Intern for six weeks has been incredibly insightful. I had a great experience getting to know how the Programmes Team collaborates with essential stakeholders, and I also got to learn about how projects are managed at the different stages of delivery. I had the chance to work on an independent research project and to practice and expand my skills in qualitative analysis, which are highly valuable for my future studies. The team has been super welcoming and I am thankful to all of them for their support and guidance throughout my internship.”

Emily Burchell, Research Intern at TASO:

“My time working at TASO has been invaluable for many reasons, but first and foremost due to the incredible team, who have been so welcoming and supportive. TASO as a company combines my methodological and substantive interests, so it has been an amazing opportunity getting to work alongside them and gain insight into all their current projects. I have worked solely on the student mental health project during my time at TASO. Getting to collaborate on this project as it reaches its final stages and assist with cutting edge research as it is being published has been an amazing experience. It has also allowed me to develop my research skills and apply my theoretical knowledge to a practical project. This experience is something I will value highly moving forward with my career.”

As we celebrate the achievements and reflections of these interns, we’re reminded that the journey doesn’t end here. The lessons learned, the skills honed, and the connections forged will continue to shape their careers and contributions for years to come. We wish all our interns the best in their future endeavours and eagerly anticipate the impact they will create in their careers, the sector, and the world at large. Their stories inspire us all to embrace the power of transformation, to seize opportunities that challenge and uplift us, and to contribute our unique voices to the tapestry of change. We look forward to welcoming our new summer interns in 2024!