I became a CEIL intern in autumn 2013 when I was in year 12. One of the first opportunities that is available to new interns is to lead tours around the school site, including tours around the CEIL. This was the first opportunity that I took part in, and I have done 3 open evenings in my time in the CEIL. Doing these open evenings have helped me to improve my communication skills and helped me learn to think on my feet. You get asked a variety of questions from people who are pretty much strangers to you, yet you have to answer them with confidence and in a professional manner. Looking back on the open days afterwards, as an individual and with other tour leaders, is just as valuable as the experience itself because I was able to look at the weaknesses and think about how the tours could be improved. The next project I was involved in was the homework club. This was a club set up to help students struggling to hand their homework in. The students were often difficult and didn’t want to be there so it was often hard work and required a lot of perseverance. I was also involved in meetings with Ferndown school that were beginning to set up their own CEIL. In these meetings I had to talk about my personal experiences within the CEIL, specifically going into detail about 1:1s and how important they are in order for you to keep furthering your development. This was a valuable experience because it enabled me to look back over what I had done in the CEIL so I could look forward to what I wanted to do next. I would recommend this type of experience to other interns because it allows you to become part of the development of the CEIL. You also begin to form links with outside schools which may be beneficial to your own project later on.
My main project for my first year was to set up an Equine Focus Group. My target was to improve my self-belief and to start thinking more optimistically. Although I managed to get a few people interested in the group, I never managed to run an actual meeting. This was because there weren’t enough people interested in coming to the event. Looking back, I am able to see that I needed to be more forward in pressing people to come to the event instead of just waiting to see what happened after the initial invitation was sent. Even though the project wasn’t completed, I have learnt a lot from it. My communication skills have improved and I feel that I will be able to plan a project more effectively next time.
This year, I am a member of the Kiosk team as well as working on a research project and being a PIIP mentor. On the research team, we have to research all the schools in the country to see what work experience and careers resources they offer. On the kiosk team, I am part of the sixth form team that manage the operations of the shop. Being a PIIP mentor involves working with lower school students to help them overcome specific problems that hold them back. All these projects help me to develop a range of skills and also help me to see the bigger picture when working on small parts of the project, which was one of my main problems. I want to try and be part of as many opportunities within the CEIL to help towards my accreditation. Through my CEIL projects, I have gained the skills and experience I will need to stand out to future employers.