Paula Stoleru, Internship at Birmingham City Council (2013)

Course: BA International Relations and Political Science (3rd Year).

Internship at Birmingham City Council (2013)

How well do you know your city?

I feel that any career in the public sector requires an understanding of the complexities hidden within every society. When I started the internship at the Birmingham City Council I realised I knew nothing about what makes Birmingham so unique although it had been two years since I first moved to this city.

The project I was assigned during this internship focused on mapping the Third Sector organisations that are active in four different wards of Birmingham. This involved liaising with the managers of organisations, and other people involved in voluntary activities as well as local authorities such as councilors, police officers and policy advisors in order to gain as much information as possible regarding the level of cooperation between the ‘public’ and the ‘third sector’.

The main ingredient that offered me an in-depth understanding of the needs and expectations of each social group was the part of the project that involved getting acquainted to the variety of services provided by the voluntary sector. It also allowed me to discover the diversity of social classes and ethnic groups that live in Birmingham and their complex network of interaction. This experience broadened my cultural experience as a student as I started to view Birmingham through the eyes of its citizens. It is only now that I can truly consider myself a citizen of Birmingham.

Furthermore, having the opportunity to work within a team and under the close supervision of experienced members of the Birmingham City Council has offered me valuable insight into what a position in the public sector entails and the skills it requires. This experience has encouraged me to further pursue my dream of a career in the public domain as it provided the perfect opportunity to put into practice the knowledge I have gained during my degree.

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