Khulisa and Manchester University’s Q-Step Programme: Supporting Young People to gain in-work skills

At Khulisa we value all kinds of support and have a few select volunteer opportunities and internships. Wherever possible we seek to fund volunteer placements, giving young people the chance to hone their skills across a wide range of sectors and topics, as well as match roles to the specific skill sets of our volunteers.

The sensitive nature of our programmes and the young people we work with means we don’t host volunteers on our programme delivery, but we are always keen to work with those who have skills to bring to the rest of our work, including, Marketing and Comms and Evaluation and Impact.

This summer, we were delighted to host Molly Leyden-Mount, from the University of Manchester’s Q-step programme and here she share’s a bit about the experience and what she learnt.

"I have been working with Khulisa as a data analyst intern to develop my quantitative data skills which I had gathered as a second year Politics and Sociology student. This academic year has been very tough, but finishing the penultimate year of my degree with an internship at Khulisa has been immensely rewarding. It has given me the opportunity to gain insight into what happens behind the scenes in the charity sector and to develop the skills I’ve acquired at university in a professional environment. I’m so glad that Khulisa hired my back for a while before I start my third year of study at Manchester, I have enjoyed my time here so much I don’t want it to end!"

How did you find joining Khulisa online?

At first, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to communicate well with the team or really get to know anyone, but I could not have been more wrong! Khulisa really values the wellbeing of its team, and everyone was so welcoming. The structure of the week and team zooms made it easy to feel supported on my journey and to meet with the amazing people working at Khulisa! Having spent a year of my degree on line too I was able to find my feet quickly with the online way of working and the team was always there if I needed a helping hand. 

What was your best Experience of the internship?

I think the best experience for me was making and delivering my final presentation at the end of my Q-step programme. Reflecting on everything I had learnt and sharing that with the team gave me a real sense of achievement and as always, the support from everyone at Khulisa was overwhelming. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with a wonderful team and learn so much about being a data analyst in an amazing charity. Putting everything I had done into words made me feel very proud of how much I had learnt, whether that be in terms of using excel, analysing data or writing it up in reports I have gained so much experience.

What work were you most proud of?

I’m very proud of my report on Khulisa’s Face It programme. This was my first big project working at Khulisa and I have learnt and grown so much by working on it. Seeing all the draft versions and the final copy make me proud of how much Khulisa has taught me and the support from the team has made it possible for me to make something useful for Khulisa but also for me and my development as a data analyst.

What was your most challenging day?

For me this has to be the second day. This was a bit like my second driving test, and I felt the pressure was on to be excellent now. Everyone takes time to adjust so on the first day a few stumbling blocks or hiccups is expected but I felt I needed to be on top form by day two. On the second day I felt a bit overwhelmed, in the deep end for the next 8 weeks. I accidentally deleted the file I had been working on all day and could not quite see the direction I wanted to take the report. All I had to do was ask for help! I’ve been so well supported and it was upwards from there I’ve had a wonderful time and been able to produce so really interesting pieces of work. I underestimated how quickly I would pick things up and the learning curve is so steep that my worries from week one, were soon aspects of work I was very comfortable in. 

Most shocking fact you learnt at Khulisa?

When looking at the new strategy and learning that 1 in 3 people will experience a traumatic event by the age of 18, it made me realise how needed Khulisa’s trauma informed approach is! Over 2/3 of young people on the Face It programme go on to report a positive change in wellbeing, the work Khulisa does is valuable!

Working with the data to look at the outcomes from Khulisa’s programmes I’ve learnt just what an extraordinary impact Khulisa is having on the young people they work with. I am still in education and it has not been that long since I left school, and I know that confidence is the greatest thing I developed along my journey through school.  This is why I am so honoured to have worked at Khulisa and know that thanks to them others can experience life changing growth too. 

What will you take away from the experience?

I’ve got a whole 300-page notebook full of notes and feedback to take with me to help me on my journey in data! As well as the specific data skills I have gained, I have also learnt what it is like to work in a team where wellbeing and support is the foundation for all the wonderful work you do. My understanding of how charities function, how to create reports and how to work with data has improved immensely but mostly so has my appreciation for Khulisa! A big thank you to the wonderful team at Khulisa for hosting my internship this summer, it has been wonderful!

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