Dora Peterfi and Halima Mukhtar interned in The Brilliant Club’s External Affairs Team between January and June 2022. In these blogs, they reflect on the knowledge, skills and confidence they gained as interns and their plans for the future.
King’s College London Civic Leadership Academy
The opportunity to work as an intern in the External Affairs Team at The Brilliant Club came from a university programme I joined, the King’s College London Civic Leadership Academy. We are comprised of 50 students, put together through our passion for community organising, systemic inequalities and working toward change. I applied to the programme because, as well as my hopes to be active and help reform systems that work to disadvantage so many people, I was eager to be part of a community of like-minded individuals.
Part of our scholarship included volunteering at a charity or organisation for a few months. We received a pack of briefs from each company that had partnered with King’s. I remember being excited by the sight of The Brilliant Club on the document. The purple and pink logo brought back memories of my time as a learner on their Scholars Programme. A reconciliation was in order and of the five charities I had to select, The Brilliant Club was taking the first spot.
Why The Brilliant Club?
Despite my certainty, I needed to take a close look at each organisation and make sure their work aligned with my interests. As a student studying English Literature at university, I carried a concern that there wouldn’t be many opportunities for me and that the skills I had learned on my degree would be dissimilar to what was needed from me as a volunteer. The Brilliant Club brief promised writing opportunities alongside their communications and marketing work, I could engage in a range of creative tasks. However, there was also a chance to explore analytics by, for example, working on website optimisation. These opportunities were clearly in line with my abilities and interests.
One of my first tasks as an intern was writing about my experiences as an alum to being an employee. I got to reflect on the progress I had made from being a Year 12 student, trying to navigate a difficult system, to a university student who was surer of herself and better equipped to do so. Crucially, it was The Brilliant Club that introduced me to the resources that would then help my development and boost my aspirations. This moment of reflection was pivotal and so full circle!
I got to continue doing writing tasks and the Tutor Spotlight Series is most notable. I got to interview tutors that teach on The Scholars Programme and The Brilliant Tutoring Programme, then going on to writing articles from this. It was my first time interviewing someone and writing journalistic style pieces! The challenge recalled the great time I had learning new things on The Scholars Programme.
Another highlight is the politics and policy work I did. I listened to parliamentary committees and learned more about education policy. From the start of my placement, I was keen to explore politics and get a better understanding of how bills came to pass in Parliament.
Skills and future plans
Getting to be a part of so many communities: being a Civic Scholar, a student and an intern, have all drastically improved my interpersonal skills. I have learned to communicate with a range of audiences, and this may be the most valuable skill I have up taken, particularly at a time where we’re relearning how to operate in a hybrid environment.
Along with this I have noticed a growth in my confidence, seeing yourself make progress has a wonderful impact on it. This internship has solidified my hopes to work in a sector that investigates the larger system we learn and work in, whether that’s education policy or another area of politics and legislation.
Though my last day signifies the end of my time as an intern at The Brilliant Club, it doesn’t feel quite so final because I always seem to find my way back.
Hello everyone, my name is Dora. I am currently a student at King’s College London (KCL) studying International Management and in the past 5 months, I’ve been interning for The Brilliant Club as part of the External Affairs Team. Being a part of The Brilliant Club has been such a lovely and eye-opening experience for me. Lovely, because I’ve got to meet so many nice people from all over the UK who work for this amazing charity and from whom I was fortunate enough to learn all the way through. Eye-opening, because for the first time in my life, I gained an insight into what it’s really like to work for a non-profit organization.
King’s Civic Leadership Academy
As a second year KCL student, I joined the university programme called King’s Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) in November 2021 with the aim to gain valuable work experience while also giving back to society. CLA, as we call it, is a leadership development programme for students who are committed to creating positive change in society. The programme is an amazing opportunity for students to become part of a community of like-minded individuals, develop professionally and build essential skills that will support them in becoming highly employable and civically minded. As Scholars, we committed 300 hours of our time to undertake a placement at a charity organization, alongside a Leadership Development Curriculum.
Why The Brilliant Club?
I chose The Brilliant Club primarily because of my passion for education. At quite a young age, I learnt what an impact education has on all aspects of one’s life. From a personal perspective, being an exchange student in a French high school for 10 months was an especially remarkable experience for me. The support and belief of my then teachers helped me overcome every challenge and difficulty and become a student who was able to participate in classes and do just as well as her fellow (local!) mates. After my exchange year, I remember reflecting on my year and thinking that if every student had someone next to them – be that a teacher, a parent or a mentor – who truly believed in them and could make them feel valuable, student performance would no doubt increase incredibly.
So, when I was reading The Brilliant Club’s brief, this was the first thought that came to my mind: tutoring students to empower them and make them understand that they are perfectly capable of securing a spot at a university. As I could not agree more with its mission, I decided I wanted to undertake my placement at The Brilliant Club.
A bit about my role
My role involved lots of analysis of key metrics and research about how we could increase our audience engagement online to ensure more people know about The Brilliant Club. I analysed a number of social media posts to understand what drives engagement and why. Eventually, I created social media guidelines that laid down some general rules of conduct on different social media platforms.
Another part of my role was to improve user experience on our website. I analysed our pages from a qualitative perspective to understand what works well and what might be potential areas of improvement. I then advocated website improvements and suggested changes to make our content more accessible. I enjoyed learning and applying core analytical skills and I discovered my passion for cutting-edge technologies.
Apart from that, I also learnt a lot about education policy and the education sector in general in the UK as I was responsible for writing news round-ups every second day.
What I have learned
So far, I’ve learned a vast array of skills that I had set myself to acquire before I started my internship. However, reflecting back on the past 5 months at The Brilliant Club, I realized that I’ve gained a whole assortment of skills throughout this journey which I’ve never intended to consciously gain, that have become just as critical in what I do now as the skills I originally targeted.
This experience has no doubt boosted my confidence to a level where I am no longer worried about things like giving presentations to smaller groups or taking responsibility over larger projects. Also, coming from a non-English speaking background, I sometimes had difficulties in making myself understood in an organisational setting. This also impacted my confidence when speaking with others. However, towards the end of my internship, I feel that this has changed and I have more confidence in myself and my abilities.
So here I am, approaching my last day of work and slowly getting ready for the next chapter of my story. I’m sad to leave The Brilliant Club, but I’m also glad that I had the chance to be a part of this wonderful community. I feel it taught me a lot about myself.
You can find out how to join The Brilliant Club team on our careers page.