Akash Amudha Rajendran
Knowledge Exchange Internship - Research and Tech Intern at Safe Circles
MSc Global Energy Technology and Systems, 2020
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your internship
I am Akash, I pursued Global Energy Technology and Systems MSc from the University of Birmingham. As a recent Birmingham graduate, I gained strong hands-on experience in problem-solving, critical thinking and project management. Effective communication of ideas across teams and to the supervisors has been an integral part of the projects that I have worked on throughout my learning tenure in Birmingham. I applied for the Knowledge Exchange Internship through the University of Birmingham's Careers Network website. Careers Network has a wide array of tailored opportunities and internships for students from various course backgrounds.
My internship was with a London based tech start-up - Safe Circles. Safe Circles is a fantastic initiative that focuses on bringing together technology and the community to address women's safety. As a Research and Tech intern, my primary role involved assessing and testing new software platforms and presenting a qualitative report on them. Through my internship, I had the complete freedom to take ownership of tasks assigned to me and it was something that helped me build on my responsibilities.
Why did you apply for a Knowledge Exchange Internship?
When I discovered the Knowledge Exchange Internships through Careers Connect, I felt it was the perfect opportunity for me to use the transferable skills that I had gained through my academics and to utilise them in a professional work experience. The internships offered through the Careers Connect portal were curated for students and recent graduates. The full range of advice and support that is available on the Careers Connect web portal is something I would highly recommend for any student or recent graduate who is looking to find their first work experience. The Digital Resource Hub provided by Careers Network is accessible 24/7 and provides access to all career resources in one place. When I applied for the internship the primary goal that I had assumed for myself is to use the opportunity to the fullest to learn from the organisation, the practices, work ethics, software tools, networking with peers and build myself professionally. I was particularly inspired by the story behind Safe Circles, their vision, and their curiosity to solve some of the most important problems faced by women in society. Bringing the tech community together to address Women's safety on the streets, safety online, at the workplace and at home is a fantastic initiative and a very inspiring cause that motivated me to work with Safe Circles.
What did you gain from doing this internship?
As a research and tech intern, working for a start-up felt like the perfect opportunity in terms of the learning potential that the role offered. Throughout the internship, I was placed across various roles in rotation which helped me understand how each department within an organisation works and are related. I was given real responsibilities to deal with and be held accountable for from the start. It definitely gave me a sense of ownership towards my deliverables, as well as factual, experience-based knowledge. During the internship I made the time every day to attend internal meetings and learn new things, even if they are not directly related to my role, I find there is always a valid personal output from each of them. I also relish with every chance I have to get to know different software tools and platforms, and this allowed me to draw a better outline of my professional likes and dislikes for the future. I believe this internship experience will be a huge benefit for my professional career to draw upon the skills that I have gained and to reflect them on my cv and interviews in future.
What are your top tips to others who may want to apply to do a Knowledge Exchange Internship?
My top tips would be:
- To create an account on the Careers Connect web portal and constantly check for new opportunities posted regularly.
- Having an updated, well-drafted CV ready at all times.
- Writing a cover letter (motivation letter) that reflects our passion for a career path, our background and our interest in work. It is more likely we will get an offer if the cover letter is tailored for that job role. From my personal experience when I interviewed for Safe Circles one of the remarks by the CEO was that she was impressed with my cover letter and quoted that "the motivation was relatable and relevant for the role".
- When looking for our very first work experience, we will likely not have much to add to the current role/ previous experience sections of our CV. I found myself in this situation when I was applying for my first job. One of the things that students and recent graduates can take into account is to highlight the academic projects, research work, school presentations, mini projects in their CV. These experiences reflect the true learning outcomes.