• Organisation: Brap
  • Contact name: Ghiyas Somra, (recruitment@brap.org.uk, 0121 237 3606)
  • Intern student name: Ioana Cerasella Chis, MA Social and Political Theory (2014-2016)
  • Dates of internship: Summer, 2014

Social research volunteer at Brap, a national equalities and human rights ‘think fair tank', inspiring and leading change to make public, private and voluntary sector organisations fit for the needs of a more diverse society. Brap offers different approaches to equalities training, consultancy and community engagement issues.

In the second term of my third year as an undergraduate student, I researched Third Sector organisations with the hope of finding an active, Birmingham-based non-governmental organisation which employs different ways to influence policy and to advocate for equality and human rights implementation. It is perhaps relevant to mention that my undergraduate dissertation itself focused on human rights generally, and the right to asylum in particular.

The decision to activate in such an organisation came as a result of my desire to widen my knowledge about gathering evidence of social inequalities and human rights abuse, to better understand government policies and practices within different sectors, and to learn as part of a team of experienced and like-minded individuals. Brap seemed the right organisation for me. Before approaching them, I had done extensive research on their projects and activities. I also asked three individuals about their opinion on the organisation - all of them had positive thoughts to share! Lastly, I knew that Brap not only does research, but also offers training and maintains links with community groups and higher education institutions, which made it even more attractive to me.

My time at Brap has exceeded my expectations; right from the start, I quickly became involved in a range of different tasks (without being overwhelmed!) and I felt that I was treated as part of the team.

My responsibilities include:

  • desk research: data collection and analysis
  • equality and human rights monitoring
  • drafting policy responses and identifying areas for further analysis
  • attending meetings and equality & diversity training sessions
  • providing administrative support on Brap projects.

Brap focuses on issues which I feel strongly about, and I am glad to have been given the opportunity to explore the topics which I am interested in. Since I started my work, I have contributed to the organisation's briefings, training sessions, meetings, policy and consultation responses, and to broader qualitative and quantitative projects on social and political issues. For example, I collected data to investigate and assess the enforcement of the Equality Act (2010) within public sector institutions, among other tasks. Recently I have just started working on a long-term project which seeks to question the efficacy of the methods of analysis employed by the public and private sectors in the UK, to reduce the inequality gap.

I enjoy working as part of a friendly team, and I am grateful for the trust which I have been given. Also, the briefings and informal discussions with the team and my manager have been very useful to clarify any misunderstandings and to write a comprehensive plan. Furthermore, Ghiyas also tried to tailor my research around my interests (forced migration, human rights, education, minoritised groups). I have developed awareness about how public sector and third sector institutions work, and this practical experience has given me food for thought for my studies and job choices.

Yes! Working in the Third Sector is definitely worthwhile!