Black Internships Programme 2022 success lays foundations for the future
4 October 2022
This year saw HDR UK run its second annual Black Internships Programme. Feedback from interns and their host organisations show it was a real success, opening the door for it to be expanded in years to come as we strive to ensure that health data science benefits from the most talented, representative and diverse possible workforce.
The 2022 Black Internship Programme saw us place 80 talented young people with 44 host organisations – that compared to 48 with 23 hosts when the scheme was launched in 2021.
That’s a huge increase, and we are excited to see how, with the support of the Health Data Alliance, 10,000 Black Interns and other partner organisations, we can expand and develop the programme in the future. This is essential as we are committed to ensuring that the health data sector becomes fully representative, to ensure that we can answer health data questions for the benefit of everyone.
This year’s placements were with business, charities, government bodies, academic organisations, members of the UK Health Data Research Alliance – and beyond. Collectively they offered an incredibly broad range of opportunities, with every intern guaranteed the chance to be a full member of their team and to carry out a valuable real-world project.
From the launch event through to the closing ceremony, the emphasis was on helping interns build experience and networks to help carry them forward in their careers. But throughout the internships there were also crucial training opportunities, providing opportunities for the interns to work and learn from each other.
Interns had (and continue to have) access to the HDR UK Futures platform, which provides training through bite-size videos on topics specific to health data, as well weekly training sessions with specialist speakers covering topics from data science skills to the importance to diversity within health data and career guidance. This brought the whole cohort together and gave them an opportunity to ask questions from people who are working on important health data questions now, such as Dr Kieran Baker from NHS Digital.
The technical challenge allowed our interns to work together in groups to tackle a health data question of their choice. This culminated in the winning group having the opportunity to present their work to host organisations, other interns and HDR UK senior staff in the closing ceremony at Wellcome Collection earlier this month.
What the interns and hosts say
The feedback from interns and host organisations has proved the impact of this programme. In his Q&A with us, Phinehas Arkorful told us that the experience has shaped his ambitions for the future. Another intern, Chrysie Alexiou told us she’s “learnt more about what it means to be a researcher”.
Uzoma Ochulor added “The internship programme is a rewarding opportunity which I feel is helping me to open doors for my career aspirations. I’m really improving my skills through contributing to our current data collection projects. It’s so good to use my skills for real world problems.”
To get a fuller idea of the internship experience take a look at this video of Kafayat Adeoye data scientist intern at Cancer Research UK.
Feedback from one of our host organisations said: “The interns were fantastic – from interview onwards, I have been incredibly impressed by their drive and enthusiasm.”
An another told us: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with our interns. They demonstrated fantastic progression and development throughout and concluded with a couple of fantastic presentations on the work they completed during their time.”
The end of the internship can be just the beginning of the relationship with HDR UK. Professor David Seymour our Director of Infrastructure and Services said: “We are sad to see our interns go, but they remain part of our alumni and have the opportunity to shape HDR UK activity through the Advisory Group and Futures platforms, and we hope they’ll be inspired to continue with their career in health data science.
“We are especially grateful to our host organisations, who have done so much to welcome the interns into their organisations. We welcome their feedback and we look forward to 2023.”
Find out more
If you are a host organisation interested in joining our programme for the first time, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. And if you are interested in being an intern sign up for our regular e-newsletterand you’ll be among the first to know when applications are open.
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