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Working as a virtual intern for Disability Wales

Elin

Today marks my last day working as a Virtual Assistant for Disability Wales, a part-time role I’ve been investing my time in for the past five weeks and it’s safe to say that they’ve flown by!

As an undergraduate student with The Open University, I’m lucky that I have access to their Opportunity Hub; an online portal brimming with internship and work experience placements for students and as I logged on a couple of months ago, I was met with a role I was particularly interested in. 

Disability Wales were looking for a Virtual Assistant for a 70-hour internship and so, after writing a covering letter and tweaking a few aspects of my CV, my application for the role was submitted. After a phone interview, I was offered the role and, as someone who has an interest in working in the charity sector, I was naturally thrilled to accept the position.

The virtual component of the internship was particularly interesting for me and I stepped into the role with an air of anticipation, wondering how effectively I could work in this way. But any apprehension I had slipped almost instantly as I was reassured that any questions I had could be answered in a simple email or phone call. 

I gained an insight into Disability Wales’ work on my first day as I listened in on a staff meeting which was a great way to kick-off my internship, and my knowledge of the charity’s goals and aims has only grown from there. 

As a set amount of work was sent to me for each working day, I found it simple to keep track of what I needed to complete. One of my main duties was to translate components of the DRILL report into Welsh which I found interesting as I learned a lot about the research that has been carried out over the last few years. I was also asked to write a couple of blog posts in honour of International Day of Disabled Persons which I loved investing my time in since one of my main passions lies with writing. 

Even though I wasn’t a part of the office environment, I could still feel the sense of people working together to make a difference to the lives of disabled people across Wales and that’s something incredibly rewarding to be a part of.

As a vision impaired person, it has also been nice to find myself working with people who wouldn’t bat an eyelid if work needs to be changed into a more accessible format, there’s a definite sense of inclusion even when working virtually.

It’s been wonderful to work with the charity over the past five weeks and I’m so grateful to have been a small part of Disability Wales’ work during that time. 

My time with Disability Wales has been short and sweet but I’ve learned a lot about the social model of disability, the DRILL research, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with great people, here’s hoping I can meet them in person one day!

Elin Williams, BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities student, virtual intern 2019