Are you a student thinking about your next move over the summer holidays? Want to gain valuable experience, whilst giving back? Why not consider a student summer placement at MacIntyre School and Children's Homes, where we support children and young people from 11 to 19 years old?
We caught up with Emily, who previously completed a summer placement at MacIntyre School.
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Emily. I am a 2nd-year student at university, studying music in Birmingham.
When was your summer placement with MacIntyre?
I took part in an 8-week summer placement from early July to late August in 2020.
What interested you in signing up for a summer placement with MacIntyre?
My Mum is a teacher and the summer placement was advertised in her school. This interested me because I am a people person and I love working with young people of all abilities.
I knew this would be a really interesting and challenging experience and would give me loads of great skills that I could take on in my life going forward. It just sounded like a great opportunity and something I felt I needed to get involved with.
What is involved in a summer placement?
I had two experiences – a first four-week block then a second four-week block. The first block involved a lot of training and shadowing in the house I was working in. Coming into the final few weeks of the first block, I was more involved with the young people supported by MacIntyre. We'd go out for walks and I’d help support with activities. I was also working with another person, so I wasn’t on my own.
The second four-week block gave me the opportunity to move over to Hillside, the children’s home-based in Leighton Buzzard. Here I was able to work with a particular student. This was a more intensive role so gave me more hands-on experience.
I was supporting a young person with personal care in the mornings, going out for walks and providing general support to the young student over the rest of the four weeks. The first block was more of an introduction with comprehensive training and the second block was applying all that I’d learnt.
What did you take away from the summer placement?
It was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot. It was very challenging at times but it has allowed me to develop as a person, as well as develop my communication and social skills.
As the placement involved working with young people who didn't use words to communicate, I am now able to pick up on someone’s body language and the way someone may be able to express a particular emotion.
Working at MacIntyre School and Children's Homes has also helped me to improve my communication and leadership skills. I've also developed my ability to work within a team and learn how to find effective solutions quickly.
Most importantly, I have gained a lot more confidence in my ability to help people. I’ve always been a caring person, but this role has given me the confidence to know I can make a difference.
Do you feel the summer placement has helped you in your current role?
Yes definitely! The skills I have gained will be really useful for the role I have applied for this summer, where I’ll be working for NCS. NCS unite and empower young people, building their confidence so they can go out and achieve their dreams, no matter where they’re from or what their background is.
What was it like working with the children and young people we support?
It was great! I loved seeing the impact that you can have, even if only in a small way. I remember working with one young person who wanted to practice counting coins with me and every time we went out for a walk and stopped at a crossing, they would take out some money and we’d do some counting practice.
By the end of my time with this young person, they could count their coins perfectly which was an amazing feeling knowing I’d had a part in their learning. There were many times like this in the home but this really stuck with me, knowing I’d helped to make a difference.
What did you love the most about your summer placement?
The impact I had on the young people. I also loved how each young person was treated as an individual. Everyone I worked with was different and unique and had their own character.
I also loved MacIntyre and the team I worked with as they were all really supportive.
What would you say to someone considering a summer placement with MacIntyre?
Definitely do it. It will help you in so many different parts of your social toolkit. Do it if you’re fully prepared to get stuck in. The young people you will be supporting require you to be fully engaged the whole time.
If you love young people and are studying a relevant course, for example, social studies, this will give you valuable experience. Even if you’re not studying a relevant course like me (music), you will still gain good experience going forward.