Macmillan Cancer Support are a charity that aims to improve the lives of people living with cancer in all aspects of life – from diagnosis, through treatment and living with cancer and even end of life. They have been growing at a rapid rate over the last few years and so you’re pretty much guaranteed to see them around! If you want to find out more information about them, whether it’s to fund raise for them or simply explore their values, the link is here: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/
My internship is based in their office at Albert Embankment, Vauxhall in their technology department – their first ever intern! Within this department there are many sections: Digital, IT security etc. but I am placed in Strategy and Engagement (S&E). As an overview, this involves helping to develop their strategy towards using digital to improve the lives of those affected by cancer… very broad I know! As my internship is 11 weeks long, I don’t have a specific project, as such, to achieve, but am part of a bigger project to research and understand how digital is best used by patients, and how Macmillan may want to develop their strategy in the future.
The first week was very much an introductory week – the first day was an induction day for all the other interns, one in each department. This involved explaining what life at Macmillan was like, incorporating ice breakers, a presentation exercise and simple guides for working at Macmillan like who we can ask for help. There is also an intern-organised fundraising event for us during our time here so we collectively made a list of possible ideas we could do for it. The first and most important thing (for me) that I realised on the first day was how well Macmillan treated their interns and how much time and effort they put into their internship scheme. They really made us feel welcomed and structured it so that we would gain the most out our time there – offering training courses and setting various development workshops for us.
The second day was their Tech Quarterly briefing day which was a day for all of technology to gather and discuss all the things that had been going on for the past 4 months…a lot of information to take in! It was a great networking opportunity and helped me gain an understanding of the organisation as a whole, the problems it faced and its ideas for the future. There were some basic team exercises where we were split up into groups, with people we’d never met, and had to come up with a world record for the company to try and break! After the second day I started to settle in and understand what work I would be doing.
During the rest of the week, and delving into the week after, I was taught how to use Outlook properly, their sharepoint, Outlook calendar and started organising meetings with the people in my department to introduce myself and explain my background and aspirations. Everyone at Macmillan, probably as well in most charities, was so friendly! It was just amazing how talkative, helpful and caring everyone is – definitely a big consideration for working in the charity sector one day.
I met with my manager in my second week to talk about the work I’d be doing, and I was given a few article to read about the project and a list of health apps to create a spreadsheet and review. We arranged to have a weekly meetings to review my progress but made it clear that I could ask anyone around me for help. There was also a careers workshop for the interns which consisted of evaluating our skills, which one we liked and wanted to develop, and priorities of values and how we might develop our careers in the future. This was extremely helpful and once again, was amazed at how much consideration had been put in for us.
Battling the fear of not-wanting to seem too keen against the desire to socialise with the other interns more, I organised a weekly intern lunch with the interns in which they all seemed to express the same fear – if any advice, I would always say don’t hesitate, seizing every opportunity means that you’ll make the most out of your time and now thanks to that initial lunch, we’ve set up a weekly pub trip too to explore a different pub every week!
At the end of the third week, we had what was called the London Takeover where everyone in the organisation would go out to a designated tube or train station to raise money for Macmillan with buckets, dressed in Green! This was an amazing end to my third week at Macmillan and it was lovely to hear the kind messages by people donating; sharing their stories of loved ones with cancer being helped so much by Macmillan.
The first few weeks have mainly be catching up on what the project is and what direction we’d like to go but I’m sure there’ll be loads more work in the weeks ahead!