Intern Insight: Sailing towards a bright future

IH intern, Madeleine Fleming is enjoying her time with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland where she is involved in marketing, events and fundraising.   

I am now halfway through my internship with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, and I’m loving it! I’ve always known I want to work in the Third Sector so when I saw this opportunity with the Internship Hub, I jumped at the chance. OYT Scotland is a youth work charity which takes young people aged 12-25 out on its 70 foot sailing yachts to help them build confidence, team working skills, and show them what they can achieve when they work hard at something. Though it takes young people from all backgrounds, many of the voyages focus on disengaged and underprivileged young people, intervening to steer them onto a more positive life path.

The trust has only a small staff team which is split between the office and its two boats, so it relies heavily on volunteers for much of its work and every extra pair of hands counts. From the moment I walked into the office on my first day, I’ve been made to feel welcome and appreciated as a member of the team.

Madeleine Fleming-Ocean Youth Trust

My main task here at OYT Scotland has been organising the Arran Sportive, a fundraising event which will take place in September. The opportunity to see an event of this size right from (almost) the start through to completion is a fantastic opportunity. I’ve coordinated volunteers, contacted potential sponsors, liaised with event partners, corresponded with local authorities and dealt with all the little details which have to be thought of when putting together a successful event. Being able to talk about this experience will be invaluable when applying to future employers. I’ll be able to point to my previous lack of experience and show how I learned on the job, and highlight the areas of the event plan I’ve revised to prove I can take initiative. The very fact I’ve been handed this event shows that I can be trusted with responsibility.

It’s definitely been stressful at times, but in general I’m really enjoying the feeling of achievement as everything comes together and all the lovely people I’m getting to meet along the way!

As well as organising the sportive, I’ve been able to gain experience in numerous other areas important to both charity and business work. I’ve written press releases, updated the Trust website, entered and sorted income data in a database, written reports for funders, helped to write applications for corporate funding, put together the trust’s annual report, and last but not least learned to help sail a 72 foot yacht – what the trust is all about at its heart.

I won’t lie and claim that adjusting to full-time working life has been the easiest transition in the world – I do still struggle to get out of bed at 7 *every morning*, something which would be unimaginable to me during term time. I’ve definitely found myself looking wistfully at photos of my friends off on holiday in far flung places, but at the end of the day, I know I’m gaining experience and skills which will be invaluable when I graduate, and I’m having a great time doing it!

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