Making a difference in the development sector- from the eyes of a junior
I always thought that getting into a career was easy- if you put your head down and study, the results will speak for themselves and you’ll land your dream job. But after climbing the education ladder and completing a degree, I soon came to realise that the education system was vastly different from the working force; finding myself stuck in the loop of “you need a job to build experience but can’t get a job without experience”. It was a frustrating cycle that left me feeling like my qualifications amounted to nothing. Additionally I was unsure what my career path should be, I knew I wanted to make a difference but also work within a field I felt passionate about and enjoyed.
Soon after, I came across HADs internship programme (initially I was hesitant to apply as I wasn’t a master in the arts of politics or debate and I couldn’t brag about a million scholarships or achievements) and I took the plunge to apply. I couldn’t be further from the truth, wielding nothing more than my work ethic, determination and skill-sets, I landed the marketing and communications internship role! Despite the excitement, I was still unsure if this role was for me, but I was quickly pulled into the multifaceted role and picked up the different responsibilities and challenges, finding myself enjoying the variety of tasks within the role and the constant journey of learning more about the humanitarian and development sector.
One of the biggest and lasting lessons for me, was how vastly different the humanitarian and development sector is to what I knew- or what I thought I knew. As a volunteer with other local charities I was solely exposed to its emergency aid element, which is a small fraction of what is tackled in the sector. Though I am constantly learning new things about the sector, I feel confident to call myself a humanitarian.
The internship role lasted three months and during that time I was working as a “real-employee” which helped provide me with the experience, and thus confidence, that I needed to go forward within my career. Being able to develop myself- from being fresh out of university to project managing and taking leadership of my own roles and responsibilities helped me grow more in those three months than I could have ever hoped to.
During my internship I met other interns within different departments at HAD, some who worked as research assistant interns, others within finance department or training programmes, after hearing their stories- which mirrored mine closely. I realised the vital importance of internship schemes and how they help provide opportunities and enable budding new humanitarians to enter the sector whilst equipping them with real skills which in turn helps develop them both professionally and as individuals.
Fast forward 7 Months later- I’ve now completed my internship and have been working as an employee for four months within the marketing department. I have had the opportunity to witness myself, and fellow ex-interns develop into employed junior employees within the sector, and having experienced it myself, and having the fire and determination to develop.
We are the future of the sector and an investment in us is an investment in the future of the humanitarian and development world, and the potential for improvement and change is limitless.