But former Hautlieu student Lauren Midgley has hit the ground running in the sector after being awarded a ‘rare’ opportunity for a paid internship with Jersey Overseas Aid.
The 24-year-old from St Lawrence, who was struggling to get into the industry because of a lack of experience, is the first intern on the annual scheme, which sees JOA partner up with a selected charity to enable Islanders to gain the skills needed to get into the international development sector.
‘I’ve always been interested in the strong inequalities and injustices within the world,’ said Miss Midgley, who has been assigned to HelpAge International.
‘I did a masters in conflict, security and development, which got me interested in the different issues that are going on in the world but I realised that realistically to get into the sector I needed experience.
‘However, that brings with it the whole dilemma of how to get a job without experience.’
Before learning of the internship Miss Midgley – who will work abroad for six months in either Tanzania, Myanmar or Ethiopia – was working in finance so she could afford to take part in a voluntary project abroad.
‘I went straight to university from school,’ the University of Sussex graduate said. ‘I had no gap year and every summer I was working to pay for university. I had no opportunity [to volunteer].
‘That is really why I wanted to do the internship. It is quite rare, especially as it is a year long and that you get to work overseas. It is a struggle for people who want to get into the sector.’
Miss Midgley, whose parents, Ian and Deborah, live in St Lawrence, spent her first month in JOA’s St Helier offices learning about the work the organisation does.
She will now spend four months working in HelpAge’s London offices, helping to research projects before travelling overseas to help implement the charity’s schemes.
Applications for the next internship – which is due to start in September and pays interns an entry-level salary along with accommodation and travel expenses – are due to open shortly.
‘It is amazing JOA are offering this opportunity,’ Miss Midgley said. ‘It is an incredible scheme and the fact that JOA are partnering with different organisations hopefully means in the future Jersey will have a diverse range of people within the sector. It is great they are creating that network.’