Shona Scott joined Changeworks as a researcher intern in January 2016. Shona’s internship ends next month. Find out from Shona about her experience with us, before she heads off to London for new adventures.
Hello, my name is Shona and I am currently working as a Researcher Intern in the Consultancy team at Changeworks. With my time coming to an end at the start of next month I thought I would share my experiences with you, and hopefully persuade those thinking of applying for a position at Changeworks in the future to go for it.
Why did I apply?
Last December I had just finished my Master’s degree in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh and was looking for something to do next. I was on the Adopt an Intern website when I spotted the position of Researcher Intern advertised at Changeworks. I was immediately interested! A slight sidestep from African Studies, but I had heard good things about Changeworks, and was really keen to continue working as a researcher and keep learning.
Was it what I expected?
If I am honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. That didn’t matter though as my manager Alex arranged for me to meet with all the members of my team in my first week to learn a bit more about what they do and the projects I would be involved in.
What have I done?
So many things! I have been involved in a number of Scottish-based research projects for a range of clients including the Scottish Government, Recyke-a-bike and Transition Heriot Watt. I have also been heavily involved in a European project, Low Energy Apartment Futures (LEAF), aiming to improve the energy efficiency of multi-occupancy apartment blocks. My responsibilities have included writing literature reviews, designing interview and focus group topic guides, conducting telephone interviews, analysing data, contributing to reports and writing website updates.
Looking back there have been many highlights. I have to say I particularly enjoyed working on the project we conducted for Transition Heriot Watt. The aim of this project was to examine the current end-of-year re-use activities in place at Heriot Watt University. I was heavily involved in this work from start to finish and was responsible for conducting a number of interviews with key stakeholders and contributing to the final report.
Another highlight was my day out with Alan, an Affordable Warmth Advisor, in East Lothian. He very kindly allowed me to shadow some of his home visits. Alan provides one-to-one advice on energy efficiency to those at risk of fuel poverty.
I also have to mention my lunchtime tandem ride with Alex and Lauren from the Consultancy team (we did this as part of Changeworks' participation in a Love to Ride competition), as well as my morning of listening to Home Energy Scotland calls, and my tour of the Changeworks Recycling warehouse. It was really great to see what happens in Changeworks beyond the Consultancy office door.
What will I take into my next role?
Skills and experience conducting research, and sadly the extra couple of pounds I have put on from all the delicious treats I have consumed from the biscuit corner in the Consultancy team’s office.
Do I have any advice for others thinking about working for Changeworks?
Apply! Changeworks is a fantastic organisation to work for with great values and really friendly staff.
Do I have any advice for others thinking about an internship?
Again, apply! An internship at Changeworks is a great opportunity for you to develop your skills and experience. I have learnt so much while here and have thoroughly enjoyed myself at the same time. It has helped that no day is ever the same at Changeworks!