As a Social Science student I wanted to put some of the learned ideas into practice

Sociological Studies student Lana Harold
Lana Harold
Undergraduate student
BA Sociology with Employment Experience
Lana, a final year BA Sociology student, spent the third year of her four-year degree with employment experience working with Manchester based educational charity City Year.
Sociological Studies student Lana Harold

I spent my placement year as a Volunteer Mentor for an educational charity, City Year. The charity aims to tackle educational inequality in both primary and secondary schools in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and London.

As a Volunteer Mentor I worked full-time as part of a team of six, spending Monday to Thursday in a primary school in Wythenshawe, working with a ‘focus group’ of eight children who had social and emotional needs. My role varied from assisting children with their academic work, to spending break times and lunch times on the playground, to running my very own extra-curricular club. Fridays were spent in City Year’s office in central Manchester, developing leadership skills and benefiting from fantastic networking events hosted by City Year, offering the chance to listen to and seek advice from a variety of successful professionals, ranging from Members of Parliament, to business leaders, to Charity CEOs. 

My placement with City Year was fantastic. It has given me the chance to think carefully about post-university career options and has also been a really fun way to experience a new city with the comfort of knowing Sheffield will be there waiting for when I return for third year.

One of the best parts of the placement was the ‘Walking Bus’ initiative. Each morning (regardless of the weather), my fellow Volunteer Mentors and I set out on the Walking Bus, collecting pupils from their homes to bring them to school. On the coldest, rainiest days it was a challenge, but seeing the children’s attendance improve, and hearing them excitedly talk about coming to school on the Walking Bus, was very rewarding.

Throughout my second year of University, I began to think more seriously about career options. Whilst I had a vague idea of which areas interested me, I wanted some full-time work experience for confirmation. Also, as a Social Science student I wanted to put some of the learned ideas into practice. As I began researching various placement options, I came across City Year and was drawn in by its offer of real, ‘hands-on’ work.

I would highly recommend placement years. They provide a unique opportunity to gain a real insight into an industry/area of work which may otherwise go undiscovered. For anyone considering a placement year, I would recommend confirming beforehand what the work will consist of exactly; make sure you’re doing something that sounds interesting and worthwhile! 

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