17 December 2013back

Creative Internships Blog Week 9

Elizabeth Day, Welsh National Opera

Nearly 3 months into the A&B Creative Internship and I have officially reached ‘sponge’ status. Being on placement at WNO is an accelerated learning programme with new challenges to tackle every day. My knowledge about fundraising is growing exponentially, and my brain has transformed itself into a sponge in order to absorb all the new information.

The A&B training courses have been absolutely invaluable and instrumental in my learning so far. I have been able to apply everything I have learned from them in my placement and vice versa. It’s been incredibly useful to break out of the office, take a step back from my various projects and look objectively at what I am doing from the bigger fundraising picture. It’s a powerful consolidation tool for learning.

Projects wise at WNO, I am well and truly spread across the board. On any given day I’ll be juggling working on building a fundraising resource pack for the Friends members; prospecting for an upcoming corporate event; meeting with the Youth and Community department about their latest projects; or head down in trusts and foundation applications. If I get a rare, quiet five minutes, I’m normally found buried in some fundraising books I’ve borrowed from my line manager’s personal library! A wealth of ‘all-that-is-fundraising’ knowledge, its great sitting down with her once a week to catch up on the various projects I’m working on, and gives me a great opportunity to ask things related to fundraising that I’m not necessarily finding out through the work I am doing.

The creative internship isn’t just about the placement, and perhaps some of the most valuable aspects of the experience for me so far has been the support from my business mentor, Alison Love, and the Arts and Business Cymru team themselves. My meetings with Alison haven’t just opened my mind up to new ways of thinking and working, but also opened doors professionally. I recently had the opportunity to practice my sales pitching skills in preparation for the corporate event I am working on through attending a HR conference with Alison. Her advice about communication and networking has helped me to start to establish my own professional contacts, and she’s also facilitated introductions between me and some of her colleagues with a view to building networks for fundraising and professional development in the future.

The support from the Arts and Business Cymru team has been nothing short of extraordinary. I feel they are very much a part of my placement and it is great to know I can chat about all aspects of the internship with them. All three elements of this internship, the placement, business mentoring and A&B training feel very much integrated rather than isolated from each other which makes the learning and training element of it all the more effective. I know I’m probably never going to have an opportunity like this again and am definitely making the most of it. 

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