I found the Communications and PR internship through the University of Sussex’s First-Generation Scholarship Internship Scheme, which Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) has been working with for many years. I thought the position aligned perfectly with my degree, Psychology and Deaf Culture Studies. It took a subject I already knew a fair bit about, while giving me the opportunity to learn more about Auditory Verbal therapy. As much as anything else, I was curious to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on in the charity sector.

I worked in a hybrid work pattern for AVUK, meaning that I generally got to go into the office each week, but I worked from home the majority of the time. Typically, I’d wake up around 8.30am and have a coffee, while I sit and stare out from my doorstep in an attempt to fully wake up, until I get started at 9am. I’d set up in my family kitchen because I like having my various animals around me, the natural light, and periodically seeing what my family are up to! I’d check my emails first and then see what social media posts AVUK will be sending out that day. I’d also see if I need to tie up any tasks from the day before and what meetings I have that day. I like to use pen and paper to list my priorities, and then I’d start with whatever will take up the most time, because the morning is my best fresh-faced-problem-solving time.

On a regular morning, I'd likely need to carry out  tasks such as creating an upcoming social media post, updating a stakeholder tracker for the Head of Communications and Engagement, or working on finding a new way to visualise data so we have really pleasing graphics to regularly use on our social channels. I normally have a catch up with Alex, AVUK’s Communication and Engagement Officer, around 11. Before re-joining AVUK, Alex worked the very same internship back in 2016, when he himself was at the University of Sussex. The purpose of this meeting is to brief each other on what we’re doing that day, and he'd check that I have varied, flexible tasks on my to-do-list, as well as the tools to do them. We’d then go straight into another meeting about Loud Shirt Day, AVUK’s annual fundraising campaign, where schools, businesses and individuals are encouraged to get LOUD by wearing their loudest shirts. There is a lot more behind such events than I ever realised. From planning and inviting participants, writing and editing messaging to be as clear and effective as possible, and tying in our other live campaigns where possible also. After we’d allocated the tasks between us, I’d then get on with calling some prospective participants, or perhaps some clothing companies to see if they would consider donating their colourful shirts.

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Later I’d get started on more quantitative tasks, like working through any spreadsheets that need updating. I like to save more creative things for the last hours of the day. Tasks like these might involve experimenting on applications such as Canva and Hootsuite, which AVUK use to create content for  social channels and the website. The last thing I might have done before lunch is send an email reminding staff to send me news for the internal newsletter that is sent out on a Friday.

During my lunch break I normally make something for my family and I. We’re currently obsessed with Below Deck, so we’ll usually watch an episode of that while we eat.

While working on more creative projects I might turn to YouTube for inspiration or help with any problems that might have come up. I know the team are there to help me at any time too. Before you know it, it’s 5pm. I’d log off and prepare to take the dog out for a walk.

My Internship with AVUK has now sadly come to an end. I really enjoyed my eight weeks at AVUK. The workplace culture is open and collaborative; everyone really cares about the families and professionals they support; everyone works hard and yet they still manage to be so warm and welcoming! I have learned so much about AVUK, but also about the way charities work generally. It’s amazing how much teamwork, creativity, and networking goes into a cause, not to mention the skill in developing various communications platforms. I am so grateful I get to leave university with some real-life experience alongside (hopefully) my diploma!