Friday, 10 June 2011

The week of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival

My role as an Intern at Oxfam has been to organise Oxfam's presence at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2011. The festival has been and gone, my internship has finished and I'm enjoying some down time back home in the North East. I've got a lot of blog posts to write and upload but I am going to start with my last week at Oxfam. Hopefully it will be useful for anyone thinking about doing an internship with Oxfam, as you can see the tasks I completed, the skills I used and how fantastic and supportive the Oxfam Scotland staff were!


9.30am - Arrive at the Oxfam Scotland Office.

Not feeling great so munch on some Vitamin C tablets as I really don't have time to be ill.

10am - Computer is turned on and both my personal Oxfam Inbox and the Edinburgh Marathon Inbox are open. Lots of emails to get through from runners that have come in over the weekend.

I decide to spend the morning focussing on runner support and the afternoon focussing on race day. I'm trying to split my time so that the most important and urgent jobs are completed first, whilst ensuring that the projects objectives are met.

However, my carefully planned day is thrown out the window when I hear that the Wednesday delivery has come today. I go downstairs to find a lorry with all the things I will need for the weekend... and there is a lot of stuff! I'm not looking forward to unloading (as I thought it was coming on Wednesday I haven't arranged helpers) but then Malcolm appears on his way to lunch. He offers to help and heads out to the lorry with me. I think he thought there would only be a couple of boxes rather than an entire pallet load! Thanks again if you're reading this.

1pm - I have sorted the delivery into items for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. For the rest of the day I work through my to do list and speak to runners on the phone.

5pm - Catch up with James (Sponsored Events Manager) about volunteer numbers and race day logistics.


I have taken the week off from my bar job, but pop into the beauty salon for a few hours to help on reception. In the afternoon, I work from home and write the post-race survey for our runners.


9.30 am - Arrive in the office.

I write a To Do list that is so long I laugh. It's not that bad though, just lots of small tasks that need to be completed.

I write up FAQ to send over to the Supporter Relations Team who are going to answer email enquiries for me on Friday. In addition, I make a volunteer pack for race day which includes FAQ, troubleshooting advice, my contact details and details of who the Oxfam Staff are.

6pm - I go round the corner and resign from my bar job as I'm moving home next week. Very sad about leaving as I love the people I work with.


Work at home for a bit, then drive over to Edinburgh to set up our stand in "The Hub".

"The Hub" is at Holyrood Park and is the start and finish area for the 5k and 10k on Saturday. It has a help desk for runners and an expo with charities, other marathons and running merchandise.

After a while on site and a fight with a pop up stand our area has it's own cheering party!

I email Alicia, the Running Events Manager the pictures.

On my way out I have a look to see what the other charities have done, but they're not here yet.


Absolutely manic day spent tying up loose ends before race day.

This includes:

  • Checking in with Volunteers.
  • Going over race-day plan with James.
  • Answering runner enquiries over the phone.
  • Sending good luck emails to runners. This includes an offer of grand-stand tickets for the finish line, as the events company have given us some. It's first come first serve and responses come in quickly.
  • Moving the entire delivery from the office to my flat in two car loads. Thank you to Jen for loading my car with me and my neighbour Adam for helping me carry it up to my flat on the 2nd floor!
I get home and realise I haven't printed the forms for massages tomorrow. Go over to my Uncles to print them and chat to him about the marathon. I'm excited but calm and it's nice to talk about it, as it feels like it is really going to happen.

Pick up my brother Nick from the station who has volunteered to massage runners tomorrow and on Sunday. 


6am - Get up, pack up the car and head off to Edinburgh.

10am - I'm cheering on our runners with Sarah and Annie and I'm having a fantastic time. 

1pm - The races are over and the girls head off. Nick has been busy manning the stand and handing out vests to runners for tomorrow. We have ran out of Oxfam foam hands and had a fantastic morning.

4pm - Pick Selina up from the Station who will be a Race Day Coordinator tomorrow. We go over to Musselburgh and set up the Marquee at the reunion area.

9pm - Get home. Confirm with runners who have got grandstand tickets and compile a list for Selina tomorrow. Elizabeth (a volunteer who is in charge of the cheering point tomorrow) arrives to pick up flags, foam hands and T-shirts.

12am - Go to bed. My neighbours decide to have a drunken street party. 


4am - Get out of bed after 1 hours sleep. V.scared that I am going to crash and burn during the day.

5am - Get petrol and breakfast which consists of granola and a v.large can of Red Bull. Pick up Bryony who is running in the half and needs a lift to Edinburgh.

6.30am - Drop her off as near to the start as I can.

7am - I am lost as road works have sprung up over night, roads are closed for the marathon and I didn't bring a sat nav. I am trying to pick up James so we can all do the final set up together.

8am - In Musselburgh and we are busy setting up as the Half Marathon begins.

11am - Nick & my lovely housemate Cate arrive to help.

1pm - The Oxfam tent is buzzing with runners, spectators and volunteers. Staff from the Oxfam Scotland office are here and helping out, lots of people have given up their time and my family are here to! My Mum is providing our runners with tea, my Dad is taking photos and my brother Nick is busy massaging some very tired legs.  Selina is at our reception table greeting runners, handing out Grandstand Tickets and telling them what's inside the tent.  I can't describe the atmosphere so instead here are some pictures:

10pm - Back in Glasgow and shattered after a very long week. Tired but very happy and a little sad that it's all over. 3 days left of my internship and 5 days till I move home.....

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Update - #TwitterJobChallenge

On Tuesday I began the #TwitterJobChallenge as set by the Guardian. The idea was simple - I had to tweet 5 companies/charities that I would like to work for and see what response I got. Below are the tweets that I sent:

I wrote an individually tailored tweet for each company/charity as I wanted to show that I knew the company/charity and their business. So for example when I tweeted @ReadingRoom_UK I knew that they do not not like people who define themselves as social media gurus. Granted because of this they are unlikely to hire through social media, but I admire their work and thought they might appreciate the tongue in cheek nature of my tweet!

However, it wasn't the tweets that I spent the most time thinking about. It was who to tweet, as I could only tweet 5. In addition, Twitter is a public medium and so is my profile so those I tweeted could see who else I tweeted. In the end I decided to hedge my bets and tweet a mixture of organisations who all work in an area that I am interested in, rather than sticking to one sector.

The things they have in common are:

  • They have a good online presence.
  • They are in or work with the Third Sector, Sport or Theatre.
  • A job with them would give me an opportunity to be creative, fundraise or grow the company/charity.
  • I have followed their work and I am generally interested in them.

At the time of writing this post I have had 4 responses and 6 new followers. 3 of those that responded requested my CV; including the response from my original post. 1 recruitment company asked me to register on their website. I would say that for something I have not tried before and very forward that it has been pretty successful. Especially as I have been given personal email addresses of people who work for these organisations and not just a generic vacancies or info inbox. As of yet, I have not been given a job or asked for an interview (not that I was expecting the former) but I have made it on to some organisations radars and that, I think, is half the battle. 

Another happy outcome is that by limiting myself to 5 tweets only I have realised what I want for my next role. I only want to work in a couple of sectors, for places who are embracing technology and who's values I believe in. In future I am only going to put my energy into applying for jobs that include these 3 things, because as my Dad says, "Don't apply for a job you don't want, because the buggers will offer it to you!"

@emlgx is a graduate who was also tweeting in the #TwitterJobChallenge at the same time as me. Her blog of her experience can be read here.