We are currently students at the University of Sunderland; studying a Social Science and Sociology degree, and were given the opportunity to join COCO on a 4 week placement. We both wanted practical experience in the fields we were studying and COCO seemed like the perfect opportunity! We have been working on an impact report on one of COCO’s major projects – The Hoja Project. We have researched how much has been spent on the different projects within Hoja and how many people have benefitted directly and indirectly. Whilst the report has proved to be challenging; finding data/evidence off over 10 years ago, it has helped us both adapt to working with figures and real life data which we were unfamiliar with before. We have also carried out general administration tasks by sorting and rearranging files and answering the phone.
The internship has taught us both about the costs, impacts and daily running’s of a charity and how much work behind the scenes goes into funding and the operations of COCO. The best part of the internship was meeting each other and being able to work together. We had to use our own initiative the majority of the time, as the staff at COCO have a heavy work load and were not on hand to help at times. However this was a positive thing, as it meant we were challenged and felt we adapted as the weeks went on to understand what it is like to work for an organisation in the real world. We both gained organisation and communication skills and feel the experience has made us more confident in communicating with professionals as well as in a team.
Skills we have learnt from university such as referencing and completing deadlines helped us through the impact report and showed our degree is beneficial as the skills we learn at university reflect in organisations like COCO too. Our works here has been appreciated and feel we have helped in some way. We were trusted to get on with our work, without being supervised and allowed to use many COCO resources.
Lucy was also a fantastic help and supervisor to us and our COCO experience would not have been as enjoyable without her.
We advise anyone who is thinking about taking part in an internship or volunteering at COCO, to go for it!