Hi I’m Lucy, one of five lucky interns who have been selected for a summer internship at the NHSBSA. We are students at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities covering subjects from Literature, Politics and Maths, to Computer Science.

Everyone knows what the stereotypical view of an internship is; you make coffee, you eat alone, and you do all the tasks no one else wants to do. To many students, such an experience wouldn’t seem worthwhile. After all…Why give up your summer to do office admin?

This, however, has been different. We’re halfway through our internship and we’ve learned so much, especially about what careers are available in Digital, Insight and Technology.

Our Project

Darren Curry, Chief Digital Officer at the NHSBSA, has given us our own project – no pressure! As a team, we’re building a microsite to provide information about the different roles in the NHSBSA’s Digital, Insight, and Technology department.

Darren explained that the NHSBSA sometimes faces problems when recruiting (which is hard for us to understand!) Why? Because people aren’t sure what the NHSBSA does, or how digital is involved.

Cue us… having interviewed members of the digital department and researched recruitment sites, we started to build a brand new platform that would take the NHSBSA to a wider audience.

Where are we now? We have completed the first round of user research, identified users’ needs, and consequently made two prototypes to test.

Actually experiencing digital

This project has involved some eye opening and unexpected topics. Whether we had technology experience or not, all five of us have had to learn fast, from website development and analytics to content creation.

Although steep, this learning curve has been brilliant. It has been thorough, informative and best of all, it has put us in a much stronger position to complete our project. We now consider topics that we hadn’t even thought about previously such as security issues, cross-functional requirements and assisted digital needs for users who are not comfortable online.

Lauren, our technical expert has found the project “Fun, yet challenging. When everything works, you’re able to see peoples’ reactions to what you’ve created. It’s very rewarding.” Even for a prototype, our site looks great. Lauren’s doing a stellar job of coding the microsite and of representing women in tech.

Agile and teamwork is the key

Self-organisation and proactivity has been key to keeping on top of everything. It has taken some time to settle into our roles. As we don’t have as many people as a normal digital team we have had to adapt to succeed – share work and make sure we communicate!

Our biggest challenge came when we prioritised the work (what do we build first?) and wrote acceptance criteria (when do we know it’s been built right?) for each one. We all had differing opinions about how important each element was, but by listening to one another and deciding together, we came up with a plan for our first build that everyone was eager to work on.

What’s next for us?

We will be showing our prototypes to users, getting their feedback, and learning which parts of each website work best. Based on this we will construct one microsite from the prototypes, and create a backlog of features to add so that the team can keep improving our site once we finish our internship. But more importantly, we want to make sure it’s as good as it can be while we’re here!

It’s very satisfying to know that not only have we gained invaluable experience from this internship, we have contributed to a project which will support and benefit the NHSBSA in its advertising and recruitment drives.

Contact NHSBSA.digital@nhs.net to find out about internships or other opportunities.

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