This placement was offered to me through the Change100 programme, providing paid internships for disabled university students and recent graduates. My internship was based with the international department at Leonard Cheshire Disability.
I was given the responsibility of maintaining their quarterly newsletter, producing learning briefs from research and evaluations, and supporting with digital and media communications. The internship was an invaluable experience, providing me with my first professional work placement and enabling me to develop a number of personal and professional skills.
The greatest skill I learnt during my placement was the ability to disclose and manage my disability with confidence in the workplace. Disclosing my visual impairment to a potential employer had always been something that I had feared. However, through the course of the internship and its accompanying mentoring and development programme, I became aware of my rights as a disabled employee, and developed an effective approach to disclosing my disability. This approach centred upon emphasising my strengths and the strategies that I had successfully developed to manage my disability in the workplace.
Following my internship, I was successful in gaining a place to study a PhD on disability activism at the University of Southampton. My experience of working at Leonard Cheshire was invaluable to me getting this. It was also in part my motivation, as I developed a great interest in the history of disability activism during my internship. I am currently enjoying my first year of PhD study, and hope to be able to pursue a career in research in the future.
The internship was an invaluable experience, providing me with my first professional work placement and enabling me to develop a number of personal and professional skills.