My internship at Grain

Picture of Róisín O'Connor Flanagan

Róisín O'Connor Flanagan

Over the past five months I’ve been carrying out a semester long internship here at Grain Sustainability. As part of my course at UCD in Social Science majoring in Politics & International Relations as well as Geography, I had the opportunity to do a placement in my chosen field to expand my skill base. Initially I knew I wanted to improve on the key skills I had already developed from my degree, while also gaining experience in a professional environment. My main goal of the placement was to absorb as much knowledge as I could in the short time I had.

A big part of my placement was writing case studies about Grain’s current clients. This was particularly enjoyable for me as I had an opportunity to discuss client cases with our consultants. This was a great way to understand Grain’s processes and how they conduct themselves with their clients. I had the opportunity to write five case studies, all varying in sectors, and several Thoughts for Grain’s website, which were also posted on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Through sitting in on client and team meetings, I was exposed to the dynamics of professional relationships along with the processes both the Grain team and clients undergo. I also had the opportunity to do sector-specific research on materiality, regulation and approaches to net zero in both the built environment and the fashion industry. I supported client research and analysis and aided where I could on various topics. I supported the company’s ongoing B Corp requirements like updating the impact report.

Working so closely with a small team, I was able to fit in with the team quickly. Madelyn, who acted as a mentor for me, was extremely encouraging throughout my placement. Madelyn took the time to talk to me about my experience while also sharing her knowledge on environmental sustainability. With the support and kindness of the team I had the most enjoyable five months!

I was very fortunate during my placement as I had the opportunity to travel to London to meet the team at Grain’s 20th birthday celebration. This was a fantastic experience to get to meet the team face to face and really get to know each other.

I was also involved with other projects with local community group Sustainable Amersham. This was a great way to learn how to make sustainability accessible to the community. I enjoyed my work with Sustainable Amersham greatly and I’m very appreciative of how well I was received by the group.

My placement has prompted me to examine new career paths that would be open to me upon finishing my degree next year. I am optimistic about my future after college and feel less intimidated about joining the workforce.

I have gained a wealth of knowledge and skills thanks to this opportunity. The communication, technology, time management and writing skills I have enhanced during my placement will benefit me throughout my career. After these few months working with environmental consultants, I am sure I want to keep studying environmental conservation and sustainability. This opportunity has opened my eyes to many other career paths where I can exercise my passions and skills.

Róisín is third from the right, wearing a black top and pink skirt.

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