'It's been extremely rewarding'
Names: Sally Arkley, Kiran Chand
Job Titles: SA - director of the WBDA, KC - Year 12 student
Organisation: Women's Business Development Agency
Sally Arkley is the director of the Women's Business Development Agency (WBDA). The organisation aims to help women seeking to carve out a career in enterprise. During July and August 2008, the organisation welcomed Kiran Chand, a Year 12 student from President Kennedy School & Community College in Coventry. Kiran completed a 5 week placement under the Nuffield Bursary Scheme within the WBDA.
Can you tell us a little about the WDBA?
Sally : The agency is one of the oldest and best known business support agencies in the country. We support women starting and growing their businesses. We also want to help to develop the enterprise culture for women.
How did you become involved in the Nuffield Bursary Scheme?
K : I became aware of the scheme at school where we learned that the placements which we could apply for would have a Maths focus. This made me very interested because Maths has always been my strongest subject and the subject which I enjoy most. I wanted to know where I could take Maths and so I looked to this experience to open some doors for me.
S : We read Kiran's application and CV and were very excited and keen to have her join us as she clearly had great ability in Mathematics..
Can you describe the project which was completed in the 5 week placement?
S : We have a number of projects here which require in depth evaluation and complex data analysis. One of our most fulfilling projects is the West Midlands Enterprise Laboratory. This encourages schools to involve themselves in enterprise education. We have a lot of feedback and data from school students as part of this. We presented Kiran with this at the start of her placement and she very swiftly sorted it out for us, conducting a very valuable statistical analysis of the data concerned and constructing the most excellent database which will be something which we can use from now on.
How did you find working at the WBDA compared to school?
K : Well it was a lot more independent. I got the chance to take responsibility for my own work. It's been extremely rewarding.
What skills have you learned in the project?
K : I learned how to construct a database, which I never knew before. I have also enjoyed doing a lot of statistical analysis with real life data as opposed to made up data which I would typically use at school. It gave the work a new dimension.
Has the project made you think any differently about your future?
K : I had never considered the statistical analysis route before but this placement has opened my eyes a bit to what you can do in the real world with Maths. This is the first year anyone from our school has done something like this and I would definitely recommend it.
S : One of our passions is to help young women to consider enterprise as a career option and I hope that this placement has helped Kiran to see the possibilities and spread the word to others.
To find out more about the Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield Science Bursaries visit the website www.nuffieldfoundation.org.