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‘Doing internships definitely made a difference in getting a job’

Less than a year after she graduated, Trinity alumna Richelle George has begun her first job in international development, based in Cyprus, with Acasus, a consultancy that works with governments to improve health and education systems.

With a degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences and experience volunteering in her native Saint Lucia, in the Eastern Caribbean, Richelle was well equipped to enter the jobs market in her chosen field.

Richelle spent six weeks volunteering in Delhi

But international development is competitive and knowing that there are plenty of qualified and experienced candidates, Richelle spent two summers interning, first in Delhi with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), and then at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

These internship were hard work and unpaid (still common in the development sector) so grants from Trinity’s Projects Fund were vital, says Richelle.

The financial support and grants from Trinity were really helpful in allowing me to afford my internships. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to take part in either experience.

At SEWA, a trade union for women in the informal sector, Richelle interviewed some of the Delhi-based members for advocacy and fundraising. She also researched and wrote a report about the impact of India’s 2016 demonetization. At the WHO HQ in Geneva she worked on risk communications around humanitarian responses to Ebola.

Richelle on Graduation Day

The internships were game changers in her kick-starting her career.

‘During the interview for my current job I found that I was able to answer the interviewers’ questions with detailed examples of the skills I had built through my internships – doing internships definitely made a difference for me in getting a job in this sector, helping me build my skill set and experience completely new things,’ she said.

Richelle said the support was particularly important for ‘levelling the playing field’ between students from different backgrounds.

I’d especially encourage students from low-income backgrounds to apply for these and for the College to take a student’s means into account when distributing funding.

It can become a powerful tool for students who might not otherwise be able to afford important and career-building experiences – this can help to level the playing field between students from different socio-economic backgrounds.

Richelle interned with SEWA through CamVol and at the WHO via the Cambridge Global Health Internship Scheme, run annually by the Cambridge Careers Service.  You can watch a video about her experiences as an intern.

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