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Working on …Go-karts, windmills and Vines, oh my!

22 September 2016

In the second of a series on our London Smart Futures’ work placements we hear from eighteen year old Sanjida Akther – the greatest go-kart builder you’ll ever meet!


Day 1: Building go-karts with 9 year olds!

Left to right Sanjida, Abi, Dave, Helen, Baba and fellow Smart Futures' student FatimaMy name’s Sanjida Akther. I am an Ernst & Young Foundation Smart Futures’ student, who was lucky enough to be working at the London offices of the Big Lottery Fund (the Fund).

It’s hard to think that I went to a project visit on the first day. Trust me, when I say it was a ‘fun’ visit I mean it. The day started off with meeting the London Play team at The Childhood Museum. And the day was not just a face-to-face meeting in formal clothing, but turned out to be a ‘get stuck in’ adventure. Where we were building go-karts with the children in Weavers Field Adventure Park. The highlight of this project visit was witnessing the creativity and smiles of the children we were working with.


Day 2: Spammer busting!

Sanjida from behind sitting at a desk working at PC

Hard at work!

A Friday, and my first full day at the Fund, I was given an assignment, where I had to create a report on spammers and research the methods on how to prevent them joining website forums.

By networking, I was able to listen in on staff’s experiences in presenting to large groups. This is the main skill I aim to improve during my experience with both Smart Futures and the Fund.


Day 3: All about comms, and a Vine?

A Tuesday, after the Summer Bank Holiday Monday, I was given presentations on what Comms (communications) and strategic funding are.

I also got to produce a report on how the Fund can use WhatsApp to communicate with their customers. I have learnt that social media is a key communication method which

Two young women holding up bunting

Bunting ready to use!

most organisations use. I have also learnt that having an online personality is key to being effective on social media. The Big Lottery Fund use an enthusiastic and informal tone, they try to use the tone and style of language of the channel or app they are using.

I had an exciting experience in creating a Vine for the ‘Celebrate’ campaign with Farzana. This included creating a fun video of a step-by step guide to creating bunting.


Day 4: Talking youth engagement

Note pad with notes on it and a pen beside it

Don’t forget to take notes!

Wednesday, during a brainstorming session on youth engagement with the Fund’s interns, we shared our own experiences of helping youth. We also discussed the changes between youth ‘back in the day’ and youth now. We talked about the barriers which stop people from participation or carrying out these actions and came up with ideas, that can help encourage and motivate young people in participating more in carrying out social action.

Later in the day I got to help with document design by selecting pictures for case studies in an annual report.


Day 5: Charities, windmills and the end of my experience… for now!

My last day, I’ve been trying to jam-pack my brain with knowledge and facts about the Fund. There’s only a little amount my brain can take until it explodes but it’s worth it. Today I had a look into the charity sector, and helped with a windmill campaign, where I helped a colleague make an Instagram story of making a spinning windmill.

I have had an amazing experience at the Big Lottery Fund, learnt and developed new skills I didn’t think I actually had in me. I have also met many people, and found out their career pathways into the Comms team. It has really widened my aspirations in working with charities and youth. It has also inspired me to look into a career into communications. All thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.


It was great having Sanjida with us this summer. Have you read the story of another of our Smart Futures’ placements Farzana Begum’s day of avoiding chickens and more.

Does your organisation offer work placements? Any stories you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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