I first approached Equal Lives as part of a module I was enrolled on in my second year of university. This was a work experience module where I was hoping to gain some insight into both working for a charity and working remotely. Due to my interview at Equal Lives being pushed back, I missed the deadline for completion of the module and ended up choosing a different one. When I then got an email regarding a number of volunteering positions available, I decided this was still a way to get the insight I was after alongside being able to do something beneficial. I started my journey at Equal Lives in mid-July and now being nearly March I can happily say I have learnt so much.
Being a third-year university student as well as having a part-time job has meant my schedule is busy and always changing week by week. Equal Lives have been nothing but understanding and more than happy to work around the chaos I often find my week involves! Within a similar context, I am also type 1 diabetic, which means I can often wake up with my blood sugar level low and have to push back my starting time until it rises again. Once again, the staff are more than understanding and find the compassion from people who understand the complexity behind such illnesses to be comforting. I have worked under managers in other part-time jobs who have seemed dismissive of my diabetes as if they don’t believe the realities of how it has affected me and my abilities at the time. At Equal Lives, this has never been the case.
My role revolves around marketing which includes sending out member emails, scheduling social media posts, making graphics and much more. This has familiarised me with a number of online systems which I may use in the future. I am now fully confident using these websites, my jobs do sometimes go beyond this but anything new is always well explained and there is always help available. Not only have my day-to-day tasks educated me, but Equal Lives also provided me with courses regarding safeguarding and GDPR, something applicable to many job sectors and sure to help with other future opportunities. All these jobs have to be completed remotely for me.
Although some staff work office based, I purely work online which has allowed me to also get used to systems such as Microsoft Teams and Outlook which since Covid, is similar to a lot of workplaces. The skills I’ve learnt regarding the balance between independent learning and communication are incomparable to those in education. Working remotely has been a new concept I’ve had to adjust to, working with people I’ve never met and being taught about new systems through a screen. Now, I don’t even question it, it has become the norm and a great insight into how the rest of my work life may pan out.
Lastly, even though I have touched on the understanding and compassion for those I’ve come into contact with at Equal Lives in terms of flexibility. I want to elaborate on how welcoming a team who work together a lot more consistently than I do have been. Not only in a work setting whereby they are always available for questions and extra assistance if I need it but also personally. They always check in and take an interest in my life and my well-being. I’m lucky to say that I manage my workload and health well but it’s such a positive feeling to know that if this ever got too much or I needed a hand, Equal Lives would be a place to turn. Thank you to everyone at Equal Lives for allowing me to have my first experience in a workplace similar to one I would like to advance in to be such a positive one!