Alice, could you describe the main motivating factor for why you joined Charityworks and what motivates you now in your work? Has that factor changed?
I decided to join the programme as I knew I wanted to work within the not-for-profit sector and use my degree in Anthropology to support others. However, I didn’t have a precise idea of what exactly I wanted to do in the sector or knew much about it. I was also attracted by all training and support provided by the programme. I felt I needed to find a job where I could be useful to others and go home at night knowing I had made a small difference. I believe that is still the factor that motivates me every day.
Do you think your experience in the not for profit sector so far has enabled you to develop skills that you feel are universally important in any profession?
Yes, definitely. The role of Project Manager within the care sector has enabled me to develop universally transferable skills, which I will be able to use in a variety of different professions in the future. For example, I have developed the ability to work on a variety of different tasks with limited supervision and gained experience in partnership working with both internal and external stakeholders. I have also learnt to take initiative and to adapt to a variety of different tasks and situations. I believe these skills will prove useful in the future, regardless of the profession/sector I will decide to pursue a career in.
How do you feel your first piece of impact research has been an important part of your professional development?
The first piece of impact research has enabled me to put to use my academic background within my day to day job. It has also helped me to gain credibility in the workplace and to actually contribute to influence the work of my host organisation within the care and support department. My research was discussed and presented at board level, my implementation plan was considered to be detailed and effective, and is now in the process of being used to improve the care provided by the organisation to people living with dementia. I would definitely say that my impact research has contributed to my personal development in the sense that it has helped me to build the case and sustain my campaign for the use of qualitative research within the not-for-profit sector.
Reflecting on your personal development since you started the programme, can you describe something that you have learned that has led to a positive change?
I believe the most important thing that the programme and – more specifically – my role has contributed to is the buildup of my self-confidence within a professional environment. I have been exposed to a variety of different stimuli and projects, not necessarily related to my role but equally important to my personal development as a young professional. I have been challenged do things that I didn’t think I had the ability or confidence to do. The programme helped me to stretch out of my comfort zone, learn more about myself and gain a better awareness of my strengths and weaknesses. I have now developed a completely different attitude towards new tasks and responsibilities.