Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Case studies

Lizzie Fielder, Sociology and Criminology

Lizzie Fielder, Sociology and Criminology

Being part of a small team has allowed me to take on real responsibilities and provide input in various areas of the organisation.

Placement Year 2016-17

Lizzie had some academic understanding about Restorative Justice, but was keen to learn more about how the process worked in practice during her time at Why Me?

“I have had opportunities to observe and contribute to a whole range of events and campaigns with Why me? I found working in a Restorative Justice organisation has only enhanced what I had studied in my first two years of university. I also had the opportunity to meet participants involved in the process, many of whom describe the experience as ‘life changing’. I have especially enjoyed meeting practitioners from across the criminal justice sector at various workshops, such as the Observer Programme workshop in July and January’s 15 year anniversary event at the Clifford Chance offices in Canary Wharf.”

“No day is ever the same at Why Me? I have been involved with several projects along the way. These have been an excellent way to develop a wide range of skills, from co-planning a workshop and drinks reception to database management for our service. These responsibilities have allowed me to grow in my organisational skills and professionalism, and I recognise I can work confidently under pressure. This was also a brilliant chance to network with contacts from both the Restorative Justice world and beyond.”

“I have had many brilliant opportunities to further my development at Why Me?, namely completing the three-day training to become a Restorative Justice facilitator. Most recently this has allowed me to carry out some restorative work at HMP Wandsworth with one of our experienced facilitators. Visiting any prison is always a strange experience but I have found it to be incredibly useful in preparing for my final year.”

“I plan to continue to support Why Me? as a Restorative Justice Facilitator during my final year of university. I have had a brilliant and worthwhile time here on my placement year and would recommend volunteering or doing a student placement with Why me? to anyone interested in Restorative Justice.”

Leanne Bisatt, International Development Studies

Leanne Bisatt, International Development Studies

It’s a great experience, especially being able to say you’ve worked abroad for any length of time, it shows adaptability and commitment and is an amazing CV booster!

Placement Year 2016-17

Leanne completed two placements during her placement year. Here Leanne tells us about her experiences, “I split my placement into two - one half in Bangalore, India as a Teaching Assistant with the British Council and the other here in the UK working for an education charity called EdUKaid. While both organisations focus on education, they have very different approaches and so it’s been incredibly interesting comparing and contrasting the two.”

“The British Council Generation UK-India programme facilitates a cultural exchange between UK teaching assistants and Indian Schools. I was placed in an NGO school run by Parikrma Humanity Foundation in Bangalore. At Parikrma I was a Teaching Assistant, so working with students one-on-one to improve their spoken and written English, as well as assisting in humanities classes. As my placement progressed I was given more responsibility, and at times I was leading classes of 30 students, aged anywhere between 10-16, on poetry, grammar, or even the structure of the British Government. I addition to teaching I spent some time working in the head office looking at partnerships and funding opportunities.”

“EdUKaid is a small education charity based near Salisbury in Wiltshire that work to improve both attendance and attainment at schools in rural Tanzania, this has a direct impact on the quality of life of some of the world’s poorest children. They work with local government schools, heads, parents, communities and the local education authority and their projects include whole school renovations, capacity building at existing schools and community involvement.”

“My role at EdUKaid was more admin-based, researching Trusts, Charitable Foundations and other grant-making bodies that we could then apply to for project or core funding. I also attended meetings with the board of trustees, as well as other charities in the area, which was a great opportunity to network. I’ve also been involved with the creation of key strategic documents as EdUKaid start to formalise and solidify their structure so that’s been a really valuable experience. As I spent more time with EdUKaid I started to take on more responsibility with grant-writing, which meant that I was finding funding and applying for it more independently and my first successful grant application was a really proud moment!”

“Development is a fast-paced sector, and while university has been great for laying the theoretical groundwork, being out in the workplace has provided a great opportunity to take that theory and the research skills you learn and put them to use. I’ve gained a lot of insight about current funding trends which has been so valuable. Meeting people in the sector has helped to broaden my understanding of the current political climate which will help when I’m writing my dissertation and applying for jobs when I graduate!”

Jessica Knight, Sociology and Criminology

Jessica Knight, Sociology and Criminology

My time at Victim Support has provided the opportunity to discover areas of interest, as well as disinterest, and as such has influenced the topics chosen for my final year.

Placement Year 2016-17

Jessica has completed a placement year with Victim Support, in the South London region. Jessica tells us about the organisation and her experience, “Victim Support is an independent charity that aims to empower victims of crime to move beyond their experience and find their feet again.”

“The methods employed include providing both emotional and practical support for the individual. Emotional support involves providing a safe environment to discuss their experience, acknowledge their feelings and speak to an impartial body. Practical support is then provided to those that need help with matters such as housing, payments and applications for criminal injuries compensation. Victim Support are there to assist with these matters whilst also empowering the individual to help themselves.”

“As I was the first student placement for a number of years, this was an entirely new experience for not just myself, but also for the organisation. As a result, I was able to take on many different tasks and roles from the very beginning. My time at Victim Support has not involved a typical day-to-day routine but rather has continuously involved new experiences and challenges. My roles have included providing support to clients via telephone and face-to-face within the office, organising fundraising for the South London office, contributing to the establishment of a national student placement structure, and working on a project providing home security measures to those within the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley and Lewisham.”

“Working on the home security project was an opportunity that stood out for me during my placement year for many reasons. This was the first time I had worked on a project and therefore I gained a real insight. For example, I discovered the need for accurate and organised administration, the need to meet targets for projects to continue, how funding is budgeted and what money is spent on, and why projects like these are so important. I feel that it was during this phase of my placement that I developed and grew most rapidly.”

“I had little work experience and therefore I saw a placement year as being the perfect opportunity to gain the experience needed to increase my employability. I had heard about Victim Support through my lectures and the placement centre suggested considering placements within a charity. I conducted research into the organisation and discovered the direct link their work had to my course. Following communication by email and over the phone, I was invited to the office for an interview and was successful in securing a placement. I would recommend applying to as many opportunities as you can, but also contacting organisations that are not necessarily advertising opportunities to see if they would consider offering a placement.”

Callum Dovell, English Language

Callum Dovell, English Language

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work abroad, or gain experience in your field. I now know what I’m working towards, and have the extra motivation to achieve.

Placement Year 2016-17

HMY Group are an international leader in the shop fitting market, with 8 factories, and multiple business units and showrooms across the globe. Callum has spent his placement year working in the group’s offices in Auxerre, France.

“I worked primarily as the group English teacher, but also as the point of call for help with any English publications or translations. I gave lessons to 25 members of the group who were required to speak English in their roles. This varied from complete beginners, to very advanced students. I taught lessons for around 4-5 hours per day, with the remaining time spent on lesson planning or translation.”

“There have been some stand out moments during my placement. In particular, my student who had never used English before. From the first lesson of teaching her to say things such as hello, goodbye and thank you, to seeing her write in past, present and future tenses and be able to engage in a good level of conversation gave me a very good feeling of accomplishment and personal joy.”

“I settled in well to life in France and I was lucky in the fact I play a few sports. Since the first week I played with Rugby Club Auxerrois, and have travelled all over France, from the Northern city of Metz, to playing in the snow in Besançon. My host family took me to La Clusaz in Les Alps, and I experienced snowboarding for the first time. All though the majority of this was spent on the floor, this weekend was amazing!”

“I believe the experience and language skills that I have gained will be a fantastic aid to securing my spot on a teacher training course. I selected the placement in France for the chance to live abroad in a country where I had some language knowledge, as well as the strong sporting culture that exists in France.”

“The placement has affected my career plans. I am now considering coming back to France to teach, be that in a full time position or for short periods during school holidays when a teacher in the UK. For students considering taking a placement year I would say to go to the placement centre and discuss your options or any questions. No matter how small or stupid they may seem, they have heard them all before and genuinely want to help you. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work abroad, or gain experience in your field. It may be an extra year till you graduate, but it’s definitely worth it!”

Rebecca Rees, International Development Studies

 Rebecca Rees, International Development Studies

I have had opportunities to gain experience of the third sector, meet new people and develop significant experience for my final year and future career.

Placement Year 2016-17

Rebecca completed a placement with GlobalGiving as a Field Evaluation Programme Coordinator. Her role involved coordinating the Volunteer Trainer Programme, reporting directly to the CEO of the organisation. Each year a team of 10-11 volunteers are recruited to conduct audit visits to the GlobalGiving partner organisations overseas. Volunteers are required to complete a 6 day Evaluation Programme before going on to conduct their visits. During the visits volunteers will produce a professional audit report and also provide practical support for the organisations that they visit.

Throughout this process, Rebecca managed the volunteers from the UK office and provided extensive support when they were in the field. Rebecca was tasked with supporting the evaluation and debriefing process for current volunteers, as well as being actively involved in the recruitment of volunteers for the next year of the programme. Rebecca will also be visiting projects overseas as a representative of GlobalGiving during the summer.

Rebecca has particularly enjoyed working within a third sector organisation, “I have been able to see how the different job roles function within the office. Working in a small organisation has also led to plenty of opportunity to contribute to other areas of work and I was excited by the opportunity to gain experience in grant management and writing grant proposals”.

“During a working day there can be a lot to achieve and it is a real skill to be able to manage your time well. This has been quite different to how time is managed at University and I am confident that this will benefit me during the final year.”

“The experience has been extremely positive, with opportunities to gain experience of the third sector, to meet new people and to develop significant experience for my final year and future career.”

Catherine O’Gorman, International Development Studies

Catherine O’Gorman, International Development Studies

I’d like to live abroad after finishing my studies, the experience in Peru has given me the confidence to do this

Placement Year 2014-15

Catherine was one of the first students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to undertake a placement year. The experience has given Catherine an insight into the work of an international NGO and is helping to shape her future career plans. Catherine explains, “I didn’t have any experience in working or volunteering outside of the UK and whilst a lot of people on my course did, I thought doing it as a placement year whilst still at university was the best time to do it.”

"The placement organisation was called Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru (HOOP). HOOP’s main goal is to teach English to children aged 3-18, in order to help them in getting a job in the future or going on to further education. However they also run art classes, creative classes, sports classes, music classes and classes for the moms of the children, and numerous other activities."

Catherine received support from the Placement and Internship Centre to secure her placement, "they were great at helping get everything sorted for me. They suggested placements and I liked the idea of HOOP as I was interested in the use of education in giving people better opportunities in life".

“My role was split between being an English teacher and being an office intern. Whilst being a teacher I worked alongside another volunteer to teach the class. During my time as an intern I was given the options of different jobs I could do, so you really got to do what you were most interested in. I edited videos, made posters and contacted universities in the UK about advertising to their students to volunteer with HOOP! I think the experience made me want to definitely be involved in working in an NGO in the future.”

Chris Barr, Criminology and Forensic Studies

Chris Barr, Criminology and Forensic Studies

They had not taken a placement student before and so through enquiries (and lots of convincing!) they decided to interview me and accepted me into the organisation.

Placement Year 2015-16

Chris Barr has completed a placement with Victim Support Northern Ireland. Chris tells us more about his role within the Witness Service, “They work with victims who are attending court to give evidence in their case. The type of court depends on the level and type of offence, so the witness service works across Magistrates, Crown, Youth, Appeals, Coroners and High Courts.”

“The Witness Service will meet witnesses before their case, talk them through the process and show them the empty courtroom before the trial begins. It is also the job of the witness service to liaise with the Public Prosecution Service, police officers and court staff to explain the needs of the witnesses attending. The witness service accompanies witnesses throughout their trial in court, acting as an independent party between the police and the PPS.”

During the placement Chris worked in courts across Northern Ireland, “My co-ordinator would send me details of the upcoming trials and I would attend at the beginning of the trial to meet the witnesses. Using court clearance passes, I would ensure that the witnesses were taken to secure areas within the court and that any needs they had were met. I would also introduce them to their legal representative and police officer in charge of their case, and ensure that they were aware of the court process as a whole. During the case I would attend court, when the witness is called forward by the judge I would transfer them from the secure areas to the courtroom itself and the witness box. Any special measures, for example video link or screening, are also supervised by the Witness Service.”

“I gained a huge amount of experience through my placement year. I have attended a number of accredited training courses such as Applied Suicide Intervention Techniques (ASIST), understanding victims of murder/manslaughter and domestic/rape victim training. The wide range of cases and victims I have worked with has helped me understand the impact of serious crime upon individuals, and the court system itself. There have been many cases I’ve been involved with where the victims have passed on thank-you cards, so I believe the service I have provided over the past year has been genuinely rewarding.”

“Having worked for a number of years before applying for University, I understand the importance of a strong CV and practical experience. I felt that undertaking a placement would help strengthen my degree and CV as a whole. I believe the placement will help me vastly when applying for a career in the future. I hope to work within the Police, so having the experience of working with victims of crime and within the court environment is invaluable when combined with the training courses which I have completed.”

Dimitar Kunev, Criminology and Forensic Studies

Dimitar Kunev

I wanted to make sure my degree stood out, having experience in a line of work related to my degree was a very appealing concept.

Placement Year 2015-16

Dimitar has completed a placement year working as part of the Scientific Services Department for Hampshire Constabulary. Dimitar tells us more about his placement job role, “The Scientific Services Department is where evidence is sent to be analysed. The Imaging Unit deals with editing and enhancing video material such as CCTV, mobile phone footage, interviews with vulnerable witnesses and audio recordings.”

“I was mainly tasked with editing vulnerable witness interviews, but also helped with CCTV jobs that contain footage which needs to be prepared in a viewable format for court viewing. A typical day would involve completing two or three interviews or CCTV jobs, whichever was more urgent. Because every interview is going to be played in court I had to make sure I correctly follow the required edits which are marked on the transcript of the interview. It was a big responsibility and it was very satisfying when my manager told me that she trusted that I would do a good job and would no longer need to check to make sure it is done correctly.”

Shelley Wilson, Digital Forensic Manager, acted as placement supervisor for Dimitar, “While on placement Dimitar has been an active member of the team. He really embraced the challenges, was keen to learn and get involved in a busy working environment. Over the months he grew in confidence, displayed a wider appreciation of business priorities and how to combine theory with practise. The integration of students in the workplace creates a unique dynamic which is also a great motivator for my team.”

Dimitar chose to take a placement to gain experience related to his degree, “There were other options in Hampshire Constabulary such as the Chemical Treatment Unit, but I chose to apply to the Imaging Unit because of a familiarity with computers and video editing as I had done it before as a hobby.”

“Personally, I felt really pleased to be able to practically do what we have only been taught theoretically in lectures. It will definitely lead to me viewing the final year through a different and more practically-oriented mindset. I am still unsure about my future career plans. However, in addition to the obvious benefits of experiencing what a possible future job could be like for me, my placement has also undoubtedly helped me build a network which could prove really useful after university.”

Ultan Brignull, Criminology with Psychology

Ultan Brignull

Due to my placement experience I have changed my dissertation proposal to focus on the educational system and childhood development 

Placement Year 2015-16

Ultan spent his Placement Year volunteering with City Year UK, a not-for-profit charity based in London. Ultan tells us about his experience and the volunteer role, “Volunteers work in teams within a school and the roles vary between being another teaching assistant to taking entire lessons. I worked within Michaela Community School, a secondary school based in Wembley, and within Daubeney Primary School, based in Hackney.”

“Stand out tasks included school trips to museums or educational events. These allowed me to interact with other members of staff and year groups, developing professional skills that I did not get chance to develop while at school.”

“A major aspect of the year was working in a team with other volunteers who were similar to me in age and areas of study, as most were on placement year or were graduates. Working with a diverse range of people has allowed me to develop in areas where I had previously lacked confidence, and I enjoyed sharing ideas as well as learning new things from them. The experience of my placement has greatly benefited me and has matured me as a person.”

“I decided to go on a placement year because I felt that I did not have enough experience outside of education, as I have not previously undertaken any full time employment. I felt that by going on placement I would be able to learn new things and open up new avenues that were perhaps not accessible to me at university. I’ve always had a general interest in the education system and how it can relate to criminology and I thought that City Year would be an excellent ways of gaining knowledge in that field of study, which I would then be able to apply to my own course and learning. I first heard of City Year from the Placement and Internship Centre Moodle site, and the application process consisted of an online application form, a day of team activities and group exercises, two written assessments in Maths and English and an interview.”

“I am still undecided about what I intend to do after I finish university, but my placement has made me more confident in my ability to succeed in whatever employment I eventually undertake. I also feel that my time on placement has introduced me to various new avenues of study and prospects I had not previously considered which may influence what I intend to do once I have finished university. Due to my experience on my placement I have changed my dissertation proposal and I now intend to focus on an area of study more related to the educational system, childhood development and how future or current criminal behaviour can be prompted or deterred based on prevalent and mitigating factors related to childhood maturation.”

Rosie Grant, Criminology and Forensic Studies

Rosie Grant

The experience has greatly influenced my future plans. I have confirmed a 12 month placement within the same team for my placement year.

LiFE Unit 2015-16

Rosie completed a 12 week placement as part of the LiFE Unit in the second year of her Criminology and Forensic Studies course. “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) are based in Eastleigh and work alongside the police and fire fighters to solve fire related crimes.”

“My role as a fire investigator involved shadowing a team of fire investigators, attending scenes, training and working alongside the hydrocarbon detection dogs. I went to Eastleigh every Wednesday and each week varied due to when and where crimes were committed. Some days we attended fire scenes, I did 2 training days and sometimes spent time reading and researching ideas for my major project, making the most of the resources around me.”

“For me, the best bits of my placement were the training days. I was able to attend an incident management course and an incident response training evening. I was allowed to participate fully in both as if I were a fire fighter so it was a great experience and I learnt a lot by partaking first hand.”

“I needed to find a placement as part of my LiFE Unit and at the time we had never studied fire investigation so I thought it was a good way to learn something new. I had to send a CV and cover letter and received help from Purple Door on how to improve my CV.”

“It has greatly influenced my future plans. Since the placement I have confirmed a 12 month placement within the same team at HFRS and will complete this as part of my placement year. Ultimately I hope to obtain a graduate job out of it.”