What’s it like as a virtual intern?
This year, for the first time, TPT launched a new virtual internship scheme. These virtual internships are paid entry level roles which are based remotely. They offer blind and partially sighted people short-term paid opportunities which will enhance their career prospects.
We recruited Jordan, Renu and Mariam to three new roles: virtual projects and research intern; virtual research and campaigns intern; and virtual projects and communications intern. We spoke to all three of them to find out more about them and their experiences at TPT so far.
Researching accessible tech products for Vital Tech
Jordan recently graduated from college after completing a Level 3 IT course. He then went on to do a supported intern year, where he gained a placement at the BBC. Jordan was born with the eye conditions Coloboma of iris, Coloboma of retina and Microphthalmos.
He joined TPT as the virtual projects and research intern in the Technology team in February 2021. He was already active with TPT through his volunteering with Birmingham Sight Loss Council since 2017.
Whilst at college Jordan provided other students with training in accessible technology software such as ZoomText and JAWS – an area he is passionate about. Jordan is now running accessibility testing for TPT’s Salesforce platform and MY TPT – an internal training system.
As the technology virtual intern, Jordan primarily works on the Vital Tech website, researching accessible technology products and services, and ensuring all published content is current and relevant.
He said: “The internship programme has already provided me with some invaluable experience. If any blind or partially sighted person has the opportunity to take up an internship, I encourage people to go for it – it will undoubtedly help develop your skills.”
Campaigning for Sight Loss Councils
Mariam is the virtual research and campaigns intern for Sight Loss Councils. She lost her sight at the age of five with the condition retinoblastoma.
Mariam graduated from university in 2020, where she studied Politics and Sociology. At university she got involved in campaigns to help her fellow students.
She said: “I’ have always been interested in campaigning and now, getting to work at the heart of it, is very exciting.”
During university she took on several voluntary roles including NightLine – a student listening service for students struggling at university. She is also a peer mentor for teenagers with the charity LOOK UK.
She said the internship has huge positives: “It’s the first time I’ve been in paid employment, so it’s been a learning curve understanding how the organisation operates, what the different teams do and how it comes together.
“It has been fascinating to learn how campaigns begin, why and how they evolve. I have enjoyed being in the midst of it and have supported in writing blogs and interviewing other visually impaired people for the Sight Loss Council’s Streets for All campaign.”
Managing London Vision’s programmes
Renu is London Vision’s virtual projects and communications intern. She is registered severely sight (SSI) impaired with a rare genetic eye condition called Achromatopsia.
Renu’s first job was working in Pizza Hut at the age of seventeen. She then went on to work in various administration roles for 15 years.
She said: “I have managed to achieve many skills and qualities that I thought I would never be able to gain as a visually impaired person.”
Renu’s internship is centred around campaigning work. She manages London Sight Loss’s virtual programme of information and peer support sessions. She also supports campaign activity for the work of the London Sight Loss Council.
She said: “The Virtual Intern role has given me a chance to explore my passion for the sight loss sector and the opportunity to carry out tasks that positively impact blind and partially sighted people.
“I could feel something was missing professionally until I came across the role with London Vision.”
TPT is proud to have launched its virtual internships and looks forward to offering more opportunities in the future. For more information about the scheme and to find out what other past interns have gone on to do go to www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/employment/internships/
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