Intern Blog: My 5 Months at ACOSVO

This blog was written by Matt Lobo who volunteered with ACOSVO over a 5 month period while at University. All of us here at ACOSVO wish Matt all the best in the future and will miss his friendly face around the office.


"This internship has enabled me to learn new skills, apply my studies to a practical project, hear about the incredible people in the third sector and work with a welcoming and friendly staff team.

 

My time at ACOSVO has mainly centred on the upcoming GDPR legislation. To learn more about it, I attended training sessions and spoke to a number of professionals, as well as conducting my own research online. Collaborating with Andy Dey, Director of Operations & Development, I have developed a number of statements and policy documents to help the organisation comply with the new legislation. As a postgraduate law student, I have really appreciated the chance to apply my skills in research, critical analysis and communication in a practical way to a topical and relevant project.

 

I have taken a lot away from attending conferences. I had the chance to meet the hard working people who lead the third sector in Scotland and hear about all of the different organisations supporting vulnerable people. I was lucky enough to hear a testimony from the leader of ‘The Rock Trust’ about how her own experience with homelessness drove her to help homeless young people in Scotland. This really put into context how important the work of ACOSVO is; ACOSVO supports the leaders of Third Sector organisations, which means they run more efficiently, develop and grow, meaning more vulnerable people can benefit from their work. I think that’s something to be really proud of.

 

At the start of my time here, not only was I new to ACOSVO, but I was also new to Edinburgh. Luckily, I had a whole staff team who were full of recommendations of things to do and things to try in the city. The open-plan office meant that hard work and a sense of comradery didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

 

If an incoming intern were to ask me for some advice, I would give them the cliché ‘you get out what you put in’, but I believe it rings particularly true here. Being invited to conferences was a great opportunity to network and to hear about people’s experiences in the third sector. Being up front about my career plans meant the team allocated me a project that was relevant to my professional trajectory. I will miss the group of dedicated and hard-working people, who still were able to chat and laugh; ACOSVO has showed me how a staff team is supposed to work and it is an environment I will aim to emulate wherever I go next. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, learnt so much and been inspired by the commitment to help and support people in Scotland."