Throughout my three years of studying Human Geography at Sheffield University I developed a keen interest in international development, going on to write my dissertation about the global narratives that shape perceptions on the developing world, and also travelling to Kenya on the development field class. This further cemented my interest in the sector and led me to getting involved with SIDshare.
SIDshare is a fantastic student-run social enterprise that offers practical experience and training in the area of international development and is a great way to gain an insight into what it is like to work in the sector. I joined the SIDshare committee as marketing team leader and went on to work as the Communications and Partnerships intern. The connections and partnerships that SIDshare has with NGOs across the country are brilliant and this provides students with hands on experience of working in the development sector, building the key skills and understanding that are so important when looking forward at post-university employment.
Whilst working for SIDshare I got involved in a wide range of activities, from organising showcase events and workshops to liaising and working with our partner NGOs to establish intern and work experience opportunities for students. The practical skills that I gained from this experience gave me a fantastic grounding in the key competencies that are expected when working in the development sector, particularly around collaboration, communication and coordination.
Having graduated in 2014, I am now working for the Department for International Development on the graduate development programme. I work in the Innovation Hub, a relatively new team within the Policy Division which focuses on horizon scanning for new emerging trends and technologies, and looks at how we can apply innovative techniques and approaches to our programmes. Amplify and the Global Innovation Fund are two of the programmes that our department currently fund. 2015 is a very exciting year for DFID, with the possibility of a new government in May and the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals fast approaching. There is a huge amount of change happening within the department which makes it an incredibly exciting place to work.
Applications for the 2015/16 graduate development programme will soon be open and I would encourage all those interested in working in this area to apply.