Durham graduate benefits from internship with council

Harriet and her manager Ian Herberson, Durham County Council’s finance manager.

A 23-year-old living in Durham City has praised an internship which has brought her valuable experience and confidence in the workplace.

Harriet Cunningham, who is originally from Ripon, North Yorkshire, has just recently graduated from Durham University, where she studied French, Spanish and English Literature.

Now thanks to an internship with Durham County Council, which she discovered on the university’s career portal, Harriet has developed her confidence and gained practical experience within the workplace post-university, aiding the transition process between undergraduate study and her future career.

The placement is organised through the Change 100 scheme, a programme of summer internships that aims to unlock the potential of students and graduates with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Harriet said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time so far at Durham County Council working within the resources finance team. It has been a fantastic opportunity to gain practical experience within the workplace, whilst knowing that I am fully supported by my line manager, mentor and the Change 100 team.

“The internship has given me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within accounts, as well as work on my communication and networking skills.”

During her time with the authority Harriet has also benefited from monthly sessions organised by the Change 100 team, which cover topics such as CVs and interview skills, goal setting, how to ask for reasonable adjustments within the workplace, and networking tips.

Cllr Angela Surtees, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for social inclusion, said: “The Change 100 internship programme provides the council with access to talent from a pool of high calibre candidates who are bursting with ability, creativity and insight.  As well as providing valuable experience for these individuals, the programme also supports the council in being more disability confident as an employer”.

The programme is run by Leonard Cheshire, an organisation that supports individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability.

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