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Gateway to Careers: Social Impact Programme

Gateway to Careers: Social Impact

What is the Gateway to Careers: Social Impact Programme? 

If you are passionate about a cause or a social or environmental issue and want to explore what you can do to make a difference, then this is the programme for you! In the summer of 2024, the University of Exeter will once again be partnering with the School for Social Entrepreneurs to deliver a programme enabling students to gain experience and a better understanding of what it’s like to work within a social enterprise. 

Applications open shortly for our 2024 programme. To be notified when applications open, please sign up to our expression of interest form here. 

The programme comprises of key elements: 
  • SSE-led training- Four half days delivered by the School for Social Entrepreneurs. This taught element will be fun, interactive, supportive and will include sessions introducing you to social enterprises.  

  • Paid Internship- 20 days/140 hours of work to be completed between July 2024 and September 2024. The location and times of working to be agreed between the student and the social enterprise they are matched with. There will be a variety of remote/virtual, in-person and hybrid roles on offer 

Benefits and Outcome: 

You will gain a good understanding of:  

  • The world of social enterprise: national and international structures and organisations  
  • Social Enterprise models  
  • The mind-set of a social entrepreneur  
  • Design Thinking  
  • Theory of Change  
  • Business Planning and Income Generation opportunities using Business Model Canvas  
  • Managing and responding to challenges and opportunities 
  • Have received relevant, rewarding and paid work experience! 

Check out the feedback from Social Enterprises who were involved with the programme in 2022!

Kia joined Inspiring Women’s Network (IWN) and supported us with our business plan. She helped us think through many aspects of our social enterprise and ensure that we are focused on our visions, mission, and aims.

Kia was very professional, and this showed immensely in her work and her approach. For IWN, her support was invaluable as she was able to apply her knowledge, experience, and expertise to exactly where we needed the most support even without any prior knowledge of what IWN is.

Internships are a great way for social enterprises to be able to access support, professional expertise, and resources whilst providing the intern with a rewarding opportunity where they can immediately see the huge amount of difference and impact they can make in such a short amount of time on an organisation. 

Alice joined Quiet Connections to connect with ‘quieteers’ attending our weekly Meet Ups and uncover our social impact. Alice used a combination of surveys, video calls and messaging to gently draw out experiences from our introverted, sensitive and shy quieteers, then created beautiful visual stories for social media. 

Alice’s storytelling gave people who were thinking about joining our Meet Ups a sense of what it was like to be a part of Quiet Connections and the reassurance and social proof they needed to take that first brave step to come along. The quieteers who spoke with Alice enjoyed connecting with her and it gave them a new way to contribute to the community. The stories were also used to demonstrate our impact to the National Lottery Community Fund. 

For us, we knew it was important to collect and share stories in this way and had wanted to do this for a long time, but other tasks were more urgent. So, it was exciting to see this project come to life with a Storytelling Intern to focus on this alone. What’s more, our weekly team explorations with Alice also left us feeling re-energised and more deeply connected to our work and community, too. 

Being a part of a social enterprise like ours as an intern, you become a vital part of the team, immersing yourself in the organisation’s purpose and explorations with us. Through bringing fresh perspectives and questions, compassion and curiosity, and the courage to meaningfully shape and contribute to a project that we’d otherwise be under-resourced to complete, you have the potential to make waves of positive change. 

Lena came to us at a time when Wild Wonder and Wisdom was on SSE’s Trade-up learning programme, and I was in the process of taking on an employee to focus on our admin and HR.  This meant that Lena and I were able to work out how best to work together and what her strengths were so we could both make the best of the internship opportunity.  We had to figure out an effective way to communicate with each other and keep all our work in a central place.  Lena was an expert at this due to the nature of her PhD and having to work on numerous projects already at Exeter University. She arranged a shared OneDrive and this was very effective.  She also shared her knowledge of Slack which WWW has since chosen to use for all of our communications.

Lena was very organised, an active listener and quickly understood what WWW was all about and aligned with our values straight away.  I personally loved the opportunity to talk to someone about my aspirations for WWW on an academic level and we were able to use our time effectively so we could discuss both my PhD dream about investigating Momentary Happiness in young people as a positive mental health strategy and plan our upcoming 'Wild and Wonderful Periods event on 25th March. I was also able to share my journey of becoming a social enterprise and CIC with Lena as she aspires to do this in the future too.  It was such a positive experience, and I would love to have the opportunity to both work with Lena again, and to host another intern.  It was wonderful ��