At DCH Library, we are delighted to be one of the teams hosting a supported intern at the hospital. Since March, Joe Meades has been a member of our busy team. In this conversation, library assistant, Jack, asked Joe a few questions to find out how he’s been finding his time here so far.
Q: How did you find out about supported internships at DCH?
Joe: Through a friend at Weymouth College. I was doing the ‘New Directions’ course there, which was about finding different work experience opportunities in the local community.
Q: Who did you speak to about internships that were being advertised at DCH?
Joe: I spoke to my course tutor at the college and was supported by a job coach, and another tutor. Soon after, DCHFT’s widening participation coordinator, called Tom, came and met us. Tom asked us about our interests and where we would like to work, giving suggestions about where we would like to be. I chose to do my internship at the library.
Q: What was like when you first visited the library?
Joe: There was a lot of information to take in! I was surprised by how much work that is done in the library and it looked all in-depth. It was nice to meet the team and felt we would all work well together. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was keen to try out new experiences and get involved with the work.
Q: How were your first few weeks here with us and what did you learn?
Joe: I found the shelving was not going to be quite as difficult as I thought it was. On my very first day as an intern, I joined an online Knowledge Café, which was led by Jack, the library assistant It was pretty full-on and I took away a huge amount of information about the service.
For the first few weeks I shadowed Morag, the library manager, and Jack. I felt it was very beneficial and gave me an understanding of the different areas of work they do. Sometimes, I work with Morag, who does literature searches. The searches she does are quite enjoyable and feel rather immersive.
Q: What have you found most challenging about your time here so far?
Joe: When I first started supplying articles for the library’s users, I found this a bit difficult to start with. Trying to find the articles wasn’t always easy and scrolling to find the right one would be quite hard at times. Remembering passwords was also a struggle when I was given access to the IT systems, such as the library management system and OpenAthens. After a few weeks, I was able to find a way to remember the various passwords and thankfully now don’t have to keep resetting!
When a new system of locating and supplying articles was first launched, this was a sudden, new way of doing article requests, just as I was getting comfortable with the old way of sourcing articles! It’s something I’m still trying to get my head around it, but it’s a work in progress.
Q: What has been enjoyable for you in the role at the library and why?
I have got used to helping chase the overdue books and this has given me something to get stuck into. I have sent SMS reminders to our overdue users and some have responded to me which was a satisfying feeling when they did get in touch to return their books.
Q: What has worked well for you doing a supported internship?
It built a routine and structure into my life. It’s the main reason I wanted to do this by having that in place and having more work/life balance, where I found that not working can become boring after a while and just too much. It’s one of my first experiences being in the workplace and a role that keeps me busy and while we have plenty of work to do, there is always time for socialising with the team and feeling relaxed when I’m here.
Q: What would you say to someone who was thinking about doing a supported internship?
If you want to try something new, it’s worth giving it a go and you can only gain experience from being an intern – there isn’t anything to lose by at least trying!