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“Doing better for the community is very rewarding” – Aja (UK), work placement experience at Iridescent Ideas

Aja CaseStudyUKAja is 26, and she took a work placement at Iridescent Ideas, joining their Time to Shine programme. Time to Shine is a programme aimed at underemployed people who are yet to have the opportunities to use their skills in a professional setting. The aim is to boost their skills further and develop them professionally and personally to set them up for future employment.

We invited Aja to answer some questions about her experience with Time to Shine (T2S) and Iridescent Ideas.

What are your career plans? 

My career plans involve working for a company that aims to do good – ideally a social enterprise or charity. I would love to work in editing content or as an all round creative lead and use the world of film to market the company. 

What else are you interested in? 

My interests include writing, fitness, travelling and content creation. 

Why did you choose to apply for the T2S programme/Iridescent Ideas?

I chose to apply as the company (Iridescent Ideas) aligned with my own personal values in creating a greener and fairer economy. It was a new sector that I hadn’t fully explored yet but wanted to learn more about. The job description was everything I looked for in a job as I wanted to work in digital content. It also offered amazing learning and growth opportunities which was exciting as I’m always looking to learn new skills. 

What did you know about the social enterprise sector before T2S? 

I knew very little. I had heard the term but never really understood it. It was through my work and learning from those within the sector that I fully grasped the concept.  

What did you like most about it? 

The opportunities I have gained. Both through the Time to Shine programme – which involved three conferences, action learning days, courses, and multiple networking opportunities. And also through Iridescent – they’ve allowed me to take the role into my own and trusted me with the work they required of me. The flexibility and creative variety of the role has been amazing and working alongside such an amazing team has been a great experience. 

What did you enjoy least? 

I can whole-heartedly say there has been nothing I haven’t enjoyed, it has been the most amazing experience. What I have enjoyed the least though is the distance I am from the company. I live in Taunton so not being able to be down the road if anything is needed isn’t the easiest for any of us but being able to work from home has been great and we have managed to work around the distance.

What social impact did you have? 

I’d like to believe that through the work I have done, I have created an impact in helping others learn more about social enterprises as well as their understanding on building their own social enterprises. 

How do you think Iridescent Ideas benefitted from you being there? 

Through the work I’ve done, we have been able to create several online courses about starting and growing a social enterprise or charity. This was something that with my skills, these courses were made with a clearer understanding of creative composition and outcome. It was a great use of teamwork and everyone in the team was needed to make this happen, myself included. Without of which, they may have not been made. These were made with the intention of showcasing the work that Iridescent does in a new and more accessible way. 

What did you learn from the experience? 

I’ve been able to become a lot more confident in my skills and myself. I have found myself taking on leadership roles within my T2S focus groups. I have started learning skills that will improve my video making skills including animation, creative writing – and intend to learn more in my own time. I have learnt the role of Social Enterprise in the business world and the impact these companies can have. 

Have you been able to apply what you have learned? If so, how? 

I have been able to use my leadership skills in running the planning process of a conference presentation and take on projects within the T2S group. I have begun to use the skills I have learnt from courses in my editing for Iridescent and I have utilised my new knowledge of social enterprise to further my work and my networking. Going forward, these skills will be very useful in future projects and I intent to continue to build upon them. 

How has the experience influenced your decisions or plans? 

I have a lot more clarity on what job and sector I would like to continue my career into. The experience has solidified that the ideal would be to work for a social enterprise, as I know having a part in doing better for the community is very rewarding. This experience has also clarified that digital content is very much something I would like to do as a career. This was the first professional job I have had in this sort of role (beforehand it was my own projects) so it has shown me how much I can enjoy a job role within this area.