A year with Born in Bradford

We are Laura, Emily, Chrissie, Ailidh, Daphne, Abby, Katie, & Sarah and this year we have been working as interns at Born in Bradford. We are all psychology students at the University of Leeds and have opted to do a placement year before our third and final year at University. We were employed to work on the Primary School Years project assessing year 3 & 4 children with a series of assessments measuring fine motor skills and executive function, and delivering a questionnaire designed to look at their wellbeing.

We all began the year slightly apprehensively and unsure what to expect of this year at BIB. However we quickly had to find our feet and fight the challenges which were thrown our way.  Our first challenge was facing the long commute from Leeds to Bradford every day. Being faced with heat waves, lots of wrong turns and 2 hours of Nick Grimshaw a day, we soon bonded. Claiming the title of ‘Liz’s Angles’ or ‘Angels’ after we learnt how to spell, we were ready to take on the school visits.

After a few weeks of training, we sailed through the first school visits with only minor hiccups. We gradually started to get to grips with administering the cognitive assessments and became much more efficient as a team. However little did we know things were about to get ‘heated’, when we accidently set off a fire alarm causing the children to evacuate the school. Following this, we learnt to face future challenges as a team, where we would do our best to make the project run smoothly.  Our success continued, as since January we have completed over 40 school visits and have assessed more than 5000 children. Most of these visits have gone to plan but we have however, had a few surprise school trips, snow days, and BBC filming. Which, although stressful, have made the school visits that bit more interesting.

Of course things were never going to be easy, when we soon realised that our tennis players (i.e. our laptops all named after tennis greats) were dropping like flies, despite Wimbledon being around the corner. We learnt to be flexible and tailor our school day accordingly, catering to the needs of the demanding Sampras. Although stressful at the time, these situations have taught us valuable skills which we can use in our future career path.

Although we have spent the majority of our time in school we have also had the chance to work on different projects throughout BiB. We started off the year helping out at the Family Festival running activities for those who attended. In addition, we have worked on many projects with different researchers within BIB. These have ranged from school readiness, vision and literacy testing, to looking at the role of smartphones in data collection.

Overall, we have learnt a lot and gained many skills this year whilst working for Born in Bradford. We have thoroughly enjoyed having a break from our studies and experiencing psychological research in the real world. This has allowed many of us to start shaping our career paths and making plans for the future after graduation. We will miss the ups and downs of a ‘normal’ day at BIB and wish the best of luck to the new bunch of ‘Angles’ joining the team.

A note from Liz Andrews, Primary School Years Project Lead:

Our interns may have learnt a lot from us but we have certainly gained a lot from them, not least the amazing number of children assessed in Bradford primary schools this year. The interns bonded really well as a group and were always supportive of each other and of the project.  I was so impressed with their positive attitude to the challenges they faced – as they said ‘real world’ research rarely runs smoothly! They have also provided us with valuable feedback to help us to improve the experience of the next group of interns.  We are looking forward to welcoming 8 young ladies and 2 young gentlemen (from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford) to work with the BiB family from September. Can you have male ‘angels’? I guess you can.

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