In Spring 2014, English student Sophie Troop undertook a work placement at the Phoenix Education Trust via the QProjects scheme. She was one of two students that helped raise over £165,000 through her placement helping with bid writing for the charity, learning skills and developing her CV along the way. Here, she talks to us about her time at the charity and what she’s doing now.
What were you responsible for during your QProject?
The Phoenix Education Trust is a charity that promotes democratic education. As a charity they rely on donations from funders as a source of revenue. It was my role to write applications to these funders with the aim of securing money for the charity. My first task was to research potential funders and from this research establish whether there was an alignment between the aims of the funder and the aims of the Phoenix Education Trust. Some funders had a better ‘fit’ with the charity so I would work out which funders needed to be prioritised as we were always working to an application deadline. I would then write an application to the funder, with guidance from the director, which detailed why the Phoenix Education Trust would best achieve their specific goals.
What did you enjoy the most? What did you find the most challenging?
I particularly enjoyed ‘selling’ the charity to the funder when I would write applications. I found that I became really engaged with the charities unique concept. One of the most enjoyable parts of the job was having the opportunity to persuade a funder to give their support to a concept that I had become passionate about.
I had to decide whether a funder was appropriate or inappropriate for the charity and initially I found this responsibility challenging. It was important to make this decision as the applications could take a while to produce and would have a deadline by which they had to be completed. When I first started I would doubt myself over whether I had made the right decision to not apply to certain funders. However, I found that making this decision became easier and easier as my experience grew.
What did you learn from your QProject?
I learnt that it is important to look past the obvious places for work experience. I had never heard of funding work before, so without QProjects it’s very unlikely that I would ever have considered it for work experience.
I also found that from this QProject I refined certain skills. When I researched funders I had to read a large amount of information quickly, this made me process material more efficiently. I also found that due to the tight word restrictions on applications I improved my writing, as I had to make each sentence count.
This QProject was also beneficial as I had the opportunity to work with a new team of people which I found very valuable.
What are you up to now?
I am currently working at another charity called School of Hard Knocks whilst studying for my degree in English (as a second year student). So far I’ve really enjoyed getting involved with another great charity such as Schools of Hard Knocks, which uses sport to help tackle the issues relating to unemployment, crime and health.
QProjects has given me invaluable experience to put on my CV and a greater confidence to pursue my future career.
Would you recommend QProjects to a friend?
I would definitely recommend QProjects to a friend. I already have!
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