Internships at RowUK – meet Lydia Evans
At the University of Leeds, it is common to do a placement year. Sandwiched between your second and third year of study, there is the option of either studying abroad or working in industry. It’s very popular amongst students and rightly so. It’s the chance to find out what you might want to do after graduating, build skills and make connections. It’s invaluable to undergraduates. I didn’t see myself in a typical placement programme with a large multi-national. I wanted to find a placement where I could build on my passions and make a real impact from day one.
Having taken on the role of Club Captain at the University of Leeds Boat Club in Spring 2017, I set about investigating any and all possible ways to facilitate the progression of the club. I’d heard of Ben at RowUK and the work he was doing, but knew no more than the fact he was an alumnus who had worked in rowing and had now moved back up to Leeds. A meeting was scheduled and it didn’t take long for me to be convinced that joining up UoLBC with RowUK’s work was going to be a good thing for both the club and young people in Leeds. It was rowing, it was a lot of third sector experience and it was a fast growing, innovative start-up. I was hooked.
In August, I joined as a Development Officer and I now sit nicely as the link between RowUK and UoLBC. I’m a face to recognise in the office and I can communicate the progress we are making to the student committee and the wider club. There is a huge amount of energy within the club, and a lot of time to give. Students are keen to give something back and I have been able to really harness that appetite in support of the work RowUK is doing across Leeds. I am also able to drive the transformational change that I find so exciting by sowing the seeds for future development where I can.
On a day to day basis, my time is mainly split between managing the RowLeeds Indoor Programme and fundraising. The frontline experience of working with the children on our programmes is critical in helping me to tell the story to those who might fund what we do. A typical day could see me working on a bid in the morning, then heading in with a coach to help with a session in the afternoon. Other days I spend meeting Heads of PE, recruiting new schools onto the programme
and helping our coaches with their professional development.
What gets me out of bed every day is seeing the school students learn a new skill or get a PB down at the rowing club. It’s great to see how hard they push themselves when they’re racing their peers. I get to see the UoLBC novices out on the water alongside The Gorse Boat Club’s performance squad, helping each other push off the pontoon. Bringing new people into the boathouse community, and developing the sport of rowing in Leeds has been really rewarding so far. I am looking forward to continuing that work throughout 2018.
I truly believe that we are onto something incredibly powerful; the benefits to all involved are vast.
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