Blog series: Welcome Nima! HeppSY+ Graduate Intern


Hi, I’m Nima.

In February I started work as a Graduate Intern in the Outreach and Widening Participation team within the University of Sheffield. I support a range of projects which help the most able but least likely young people to gain access to Higher Education. My work is part of the Higher Education Progression Partnership South Yorkshire (HeppSY+), which is a multi-institution partnership based in Sheffield Hallam University.

What impresses me most about the work I am involved in is the level of attention given to creating, analysing, and using longitudinal data which tracks students from before they attend university to after they have graduated. It is this data that allows the support that we provide to be allocated to where it really needs to be, as well as making sure that the support offered does actually help young people to not only access Higher Education, but to be successful in it.

I grew up in Sheffield and attended Tapton School. Because I love the city so much, I chose to stay here for my Higher Education and after four years of studying, I graduated with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering. I initially began a PhD at the same department but I realised that it wasn’t for me which is why I decided to go straight into work – Elon Musk did a similar thing when he was my age so hopefully I’ll become a billionaire too!

As a first generation university graduate, I know first hand just how rewarding Higher Education can be so it’s great to be able to inspire the next generation. I’ve helped to coordinate and deliver a number of events where I have shared my personal university experience. Seeing young people’s misconceptions eradicated, their worries reassured, and their aspirations raised is what makes this job so rewarding.

I have been welcomed with open arms into the office and into the wider team. A friendly and supportive line manager and working environment makes my day to day life enjoyable and productive. Having another graduate intern on the team that I really get along with is great too.

Since I’m terrified of heights, it’s good that I’m based on the lower floors of the Arts Tower. I once had to go up to level 5 to see HR and I was shaking by the time I came back down. Getting to drive the Uni’s little electric Renault Zoe is fun, although I have to remember not to slam the brakes with my left foot. Being only 60 seconds away from John’s Van is an added bonus.

I am currently helping to coordinate and deliver a number of events and have been given the Achievement Awards as a project to organise. I hope to create a logistically solid and inspirational project that has a lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives. I’ve also worked on the Scholar’s Plus, the Brilliant Club and the Building, Learning Power Club to name a few. With events, there are always last minute challenges which are out of your control and I’ve learnt to approach these challenges in a positive manner which has meant that so far, disasters have been averted.

The development opportunities presented by the university have allowed me to gain valuable experience in a number of different areas. From project planning to stakeholder interaction, public speaking to risk minimisation, I know that by the time my internship ends, I’ll be a very strong candidate for any future positions.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to realise many more informative and inspiring outreach events throughout this year.


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