A photo of Alysha

From Curation Intern to Recruitment Consultant in ISG

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I started working as an Open Content Curator intern in June 2021, as one of about 50 ISG interns that summer. I was so excited to get the job, partially as I was a final year student in Covid lockdowns, but mainly because I was looking forward to spending my summer making something with real world impact!

My internship involved repackaging and modifying educational resources made by students on various courses at the university. These ranged from lesson plans built for a classroom with worksheets, to resources such as videos for children and young adults to use at home. As interns we checked the copyright status of the media in the resources and edited them, finding alternative materials that had applicable copyright licensing. As well as making the resources and web pages as accessible as possible. You can view the range of 59 Open Educational Resources from the University of Edinburgh on TES.

I had no real knowledge of copyright licensing before this internship, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to understand how copyright works. I wish I had learned about copyright at school to feel empowered to create stuff using materials with applicable licencing. It was really interesting to learn about copyright over the course of my internship, both in finding the huge quantity of material out there that is ready to be reused, and discovering the ideas behind copyright as a principle. Copyright is such a commonly used phrase that it is sounded neutral to me, so it was fascinating to find out about the concept of copyright as an idea, and the copyleft principle.

Before my internship I was not aware of how organisations are working to foster openness whilst respecting copyrights in the public domain. Such as the extent of Wikipedia, particularly at Edinburgh and Wikipedia commons, and Creative Commons. I would really recommend exploring the Creative Commons website to find out about their licences (which are easy to understand) and why sharing stuff is important!

Day to day as an intern I had so much fun being creative with the resources, from Wizarding worksheets and certificates, to Power Points on using Art to learn about Ecology. I enjoyed having flexibility to balance different parts of my internship, which gave me a wide variety of experience to take away. Such as posting on Open.ed twitter to highlight resources and news, blogging on Open.ed, connecting with other staff in ISG and even helping with a submission for an Open Global award. The most rewarding part for me was knowing that everything I did was to help teachers use resources our students had made, or help students to have a go at home, which felt especially important in that summer of the pandemic. It was lovely to work with another student and be able to get each other’s opinion on our work and see the cool resources they worked on, including videos on astronomy with comets.

In my internship (and my current job) I use skills I learnt in my degree, such as communication (like explaining complex concepts in an accessible way) and time management. Having been at university for 4 years where I studied specific areas and had a very in depth understanding with specific vocabulary, which often felt removed from the outside world, it was encouraging to learn about how our university has a strong commitment to open knowledge to the world through an award winning policy and a vision.

The best things I got out of my internship were the confidence to work in an office environment (although it was online) such as time management, and an understanding of how significant having a great line manager and team is to a job. All whilst having fun making something with a legacy and aim I believe in. I am very pleased that my current job also allows me to have direct positive impact and play a part in shaping a beneficial legacy for student employment at Edinburgh.

During my internship (as a final year student) I was applying for lots of jobs, and saw that Ashleigh (our Unitemps Edinburgh Branch Manager) was recruiting for someone to join the Unitemps team for one year to help with student employment. I was not sure exactly what Recruitment Consultant meant, but I was intrigued by being part of the team delivering jobs to students. I have first-hand experience, as many students do, of needing to work alongside University to meet financial needs. So I am totally on board with offering roles that are tailor made for students giving them experience as well as pay. I had a meeting with Ashleigh to chat about the role and from there sent over an application and had an interview, which went well!

Nine months later I now know what Recruitment Consultant means! Day to day I advertise student roles, facilitate interviews, and support our student workers, such as explaining how to access payslips. During my internship, friends kept asking me if I would stay on after the 3 months, but I knew my specific internship did not need to extend the role. However, I was very lucky to go straight from a summer internship into a full time job, which has now been made permanent! Therefore, I would encourage anyone to apply for roles in ISG as you never know where they will lead. There is a huge range of skills you can develop in ISG, from part time roles in term time, to our internships over summer, there are roles in coding and technology, to curation, or communication (social media). It can be very difficult to find roles as a student particularly paid work experience, so I am very invested in opening applications to students at our university, which is why I am so happy to still be working in ISG, supporting more students in the great experience I had.

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