Commission’s first student university placement is a success

Last year, we were pleased to welcome our first Work Placement Student, Chris Perry. 

We were excited to be able to offer this placement, as one way to support a local student seeking to learn and grow their experience in the field of health improvement, but also because Chris brought lots of insight and expertise to the team. Chris is a student at the University of Sussex where he is studying for a degree in Psychology. 

He’s hoping to  go on to study a Masters in Sports Psychology and has a keen interest in public health. He has now completed his placement and is returning to Sussex to continue his studies, but before he left, we sat down with him to reflect on his experience. 

What have you enjoyed most about your placement with the Commission? 

I’ve enjoyed making and growing relationships within the team and with the schools that I’ve worked with. I set up some research using wearable activity monitors in  four secondary schools and two primary schools and  I worked with them directly in my role. Being out in the community, working with different people was really insightful and I am looking forward to using the skills I gained. It’s shown me I would like a career where I’m out and about. 

I also found the Commission a really positive place to be, everyone is really interested in their work and the health of the Community. I found learning about how they support people on their mission to empower, enable and encourage healthy living in Guernsey and Alderney fascinating. The approaches that the team use in terms of understanding what drives people’s behaviour linked really well with my university course.   

What teams did you work with and how did you contribute to their work? 

I was pleased to support Alex Costen, the Active Travel Officer, on a survey of  active travel in schools. I also helped run a focus group of pupils, organised to discuss their methods of travel. This was a great opportunity to use my communication skills, and the information collected will be used by the Commission in future, so this is something that I’m proud of.  

I worked with Tanya Dorrity, the Eat Well Specialist, to run a survey about food provision at Beau Sejour. We gathered data on site and online, it was interesting to see the difference in these modes of collection. I found it really interesting that we got more detailed responses in person.  

I also worked with the Commission’s Communications Officer to make sure I could present  my experiences gained on my placement clearly on my CV, which will help me in the future. I also learnt some design skills for my future presentations which will be helpful for my degree.  I took part in an article with Active Guernsey, sharing how Active Travel has given me more energy, click here to read

Would you recommend doing a university placement in the third sector? 

Yes, the third sector is full of people who do brilliant work for the community and the Commission has been really accommodating and welcoming. Through volunteering as my work placement, I received lots of support and was able and encouraged  to join in with many interesting projects. This meant that I could use learning from my degree to contribute to an important part of island life, but also develop new skills that will help me complete my studies and plan my future career. I researched the Health Improvement Commission to plan my placement , and I’d recommend that other students from the Bailiwick email at the Guernsey Community Foundation to discuss skilled volunteering opportunities . I strongly recommend finding an area you're interested in and jumping in as a volunteer.  

Chris with Tanya, Eat Well Specialist
Chris with Tanya, Eat Well Specialist