Ursula Houston

Sociology BA

Staff Health and Wellbeing Project Coordinator,
Birmingham Children's Hospital (Internship)


Since graduating with a first class degree in Sociology, I have been lucky enough to secure two different internships in the public sector. Both internships were advertised by the careers service solely for University of Birmingham students. I am interested in working in the public or charitable sector and these internships have provided me with first-hand experience, which I would not have gained otherwise.

The first internship took place at Birmingham City Council where I was a technical Human Resources (HR) Officer. This involved updating and maintaining the council’s personnel records and producing reports using software. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about HR processes in a large organisation and challenged my preconceptions of HR as purely people-orientated.

I am now a quarter of the way through a yearlong internship at Birmingham Children’s Hospital where I am Staff Health and Wellbeing Project Coordinator. I have so far helped to organise two events for staff focussing on different aspects of health and am involved in developing HR policies with a focus on staff health and wellbeing. Apart from gaining experience in project coordination, this role has allowed me to experience working in the NHS, in contact with many the many different professionals who make up the health service. Whereas before I had preconceptions of the NHS being exclusively medically focussed, I now appreciate the range of expertise that is necessary to deliver high quality patient care.

Being able to experience different aspects of HR in the time since I finished my degree has helped me to better understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and I have realised that I would like to work in an analytical, research-based role. Undertaking these internships has also given me invaluable experience of working within two very different public sector organisations. I fully recommend internships as a way to learn more about your chosen field and role, prospective organisations and most importantly yourself.

Course information: Sociology BA

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