Throughout April our Fundraising team were lucky enough to have Isaac join them as a Fundraising Intern.
Isaac is studying at Southampton University and undertook the month-long internship as part of their Excel Internship Programme. He has autism, and he kindly wrote the following piece to describe the time he spent working with us.
My name is Isaac, I’m a student at Southampton University, and over the Easter break I took an internship position at Autism Wessex.
Currently, I am in my second year of a BSc in Population and Geography, a subject all about people. Where they live, why they live there, what they do for a living and why they chose that particular profession.
So, this begs the question why did I chose to take an internship position at Autism Wessex over Easter? Since, it doesn’t really seem to fit in with the subject I’m studying at all. Well, I decided to apply for this position for two simple reasons. Firstly, I am an autistic person myself and thus admire the work this charity is doing in both supporting autistic people in the area and raising awareness for what the condition can cause and look like. Secondly, my favourite part of my university course is that I get to look at large amounts of data and analyse it, of course. However what I really enjoy about data is the fact it exists, and often has many little quirks, and things that can be done with it, plus it tells a story in a way I can easily understand – numbers. And, wouldn’t you have it, the details of the internship stated that the charity wanted someone who could work with a large database. Both cleaning the data, and making it easier to read as well as adding information and finding information on trusts or partnerships that could be contacted to raise money for the charity.
This seemed like my dream job, so I applied and despite a very nervous interview where I looked straight at the floor the entire time, I managed to secure the position of fundraising intern. Then, my first day arrived very quickly, and I was given a handful of videos to learn how to use the database followed by a handful of spreadsheets full of information that needed to be put into the database. This was wonderful. The fundraising manager, Tom, helped to guide me through whenever there was an odd bit of data I wasn’t sure how to input and was a fantastic help. During my time working here I’ve always felt comfortable asking for help, since I ran into many errors I wasn’t sure how to deal with. My favourite being the fact that for some reason, the database had switched the titles Mr and Mrs to Male and Female for people added within a certain time frame on a certain day.
Overall, this has been a fantastic work environment, I’ve never felt like I had to worry about anything, sometimes I have said things that may be odd or out of place but I felt that people just accepted that that may happen and moved on. I really liked this, since I felt that it showed the charity was true to their word – they wanted to be accommodating to people with autism in every way.
What I’ve been trying to say this entire rambling post is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Autism Wessex, I think the people that I met were incredibly accommodating and lovely and I believe the charity is doing fantastic work.