Ahoy! I am Ollie the new intern and first mate at the Literacy Pirates (LP). I have joined LP through an amazing internship programme with the Jack Petchey Foundation, an organisation that has been involved in the development and progression of young people in East London since the late 90s. They will be facilitating my year-long stay here at LP and providing me with all the relevant training I may need or require to really excel in this role and beyond. The crew here at LP have been amazing in welcoming me and showing me the ropes despite most of it being through a Zoom call! As I begin my second month here at the LP, it may be a nice time to reflect on my journey so far, what I have enjoyed, some of the challenges I have faced and what I look forward to in the future.
What I have been up to?
Since joining I have spent a large portion of my time learning the various volunteering and educational preparations the organisation undertakes to run these amazingly diverse and exciting sessions. Some of the earlier tasks I have been completing range from recruiting and training volunteers, to playing games with young pirates, to producing digital assets and comms strategies– this role has already engaged me in a range of tasks scattered around the organisation. This in turn has allowed me to really develop my skills and confidence in various departments in a relatively short amount of time and gain a wider understanding how each department is run.
For me, one of the more exciting and impactful tasks I have been doing is session support. Here, my role is ensuring all young pirates have arrived at the session on time and prepared with their materials. It also includes entertaining and keeping the young pirates concentrated and motived during breaks and before the session leader arrives. Beforehand this was a task that seemed the most challenging for me given I have little experience in education – however, it has been the most insightful, impactful, and important of my duties in truly understanding and appreciating what is special here at Literacy Pirates, and the difference between this organisation and other educational charities or extra-curricular activities.
Having a strong background in marketing and events, a lot of my prior experience has been in communications and strategy. So, my decision to work in charity sector, specifically with children was a large and relatively new path for me. Conversing with the young people of areas I once grew up in is amazing. Engaging in brief discussions even on simple things such as sports or local events reminds me of my own childhood and my own struggles in the earlier years of my education. If I can use this hindsight to help or motivate others that would be great. A career in education has always been something I have thought about, and this organisation, this role and the environment has already given me a great insight into the sector and will continue to do so both from a teaching perspective and from a more planning and methodological approach.
What have I found challenging?
One significant aspect in joining LP has been having to adapt to and learn new company procedures and the culture whilst working and communicating remotely. This has meant that although I am a month into the role, I am yet to meet all my colleagues in person – which is a very rare and strange experience for me. Whilst many can agree this year was a huge set back, joining this organisation has shown me the resilience and determination that difficult times can bring out of people. The hard work and effort behind the scenes to keep these projects and programmes alive and running for the kids who need it has been amazing. I am really proud to now be a part of it, helping kids who have had an unimaginably tough year missing out on so much educationally and socially.
What I think the future holds?
As for the future? I am really looking forward to September. By then we should hopefully have opened our Hackney and Haringey ships and I will get the chance to experience some of our lessons in person. The next few months will be extremely exciting for LP, as I mentioned earlier, I have joined the organisation during a pivotal adaption to the recent climate. Having moved largely online the organisation has had to shift its approach, plans and expectations of the future and what growth will mean. I am excited to be here during these important months of strategizing and cannot wait to see how Literacy Pirates will continue to adapt the progression of Literacy, Confidence, and Perseverance.
Ollie Mpofu, First Mate – Intern.