I started my role as a Junior Consultant @ S3 in October 2017, here are some thoughts on my first 6 months in the role.
My Roles and Responsibilities
As a Junior Consultant my role at S3 involves working across the two primary business services; the Core Retained Service and Consultancy Service. My responsibilities within the Core Retained Service involve advising a portfolio of ten core clients based all over Northern Ireland, working with them to identify and establish key business priorities and supporting their implementation. This involves, strategic action planning, developing and submitting funding applications and providing ongoing advice and guidance to help them support their business objectives. As part of the Consultancy team, I am responsible for supporting the delivery of a wide variety of projects. This includes facilitating focus groups, undertaking research and report writing.
What has your experience been like to date?
The first few weeks I was involved in various meetings with future clients alongside Company Directors to gain insight to the various pieces of work I would be taking on board and to learn more about S3 as an organisation. Looking back from then to now, I have gained so much experience, and it’s only been 7 months!! Before joining S3, I had just completed my degree in Business Management, and worked in various professional roles focused on project delivery, including interning for a year in Boston. Since working at S3 I have had multiple opportunities to broaden my leadership experience, managing a portfolio of clients and projects and leading and facilitating group sessions.
Besides my day to day role, I have had extensive opportunities to broaden my marketing and communications experience. This includes working with our Graphic designer to develop our brand-new website, supporting the development of our first ever Newsletter and co-ordinating our ongoing social media / branding initiatives. Just recently I have been given the responsibility to present future marketing concepts and ideas to everyone within the company and will be taking the lead role in organising this element of our business.
I’ve also been exposed to areas of business I have limited previous experience in. Sales! This is something I would have been initially reluctant to pursue or explore, but S3 have encouraged me to push myself out of my comfort zone, consistently acknowledging and recognising individual efforts. I have already noticed a huge improvement in my confidence, comfortably pursuing and following up potential business prospects.
Why did you decide to start working for S3?
For me, it was all about the purpose. I’ve always been involved with the voluntary sector, supporting local community initiatives and travelling to Cambodia to teach at age 16 but, in terms of career planning, I’ve always been interested in pursuing business and management. S3 presented a unique opportunity for me to combine both my interest in business with my passion for supporting the voluntary/ third sector. Being able to work at something I enjoy and something, I believe matters, is an extremely important element in pursuing any career for me and S3 offered both.
What do you enjoy about S3?
The clients. I really enjoy meeting new people, building relationships and learning about all the exciting work that is going on within the third sector. The clients I support, work in a wide variety of areas including youth, education, sport, disability, health and community development. I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact of non-profit organisations within their communities and so I particularly enjoy when a project you’ve been supporting them on is successful.
Every day is different. Everyone at S3 has autonomy and flexibility to manage their own workloads and projects. Some day’s I’ll be in the office 9-5 working on a bid for a new capital development or community project, others I’ll be travelling to local schools, youth and sport clubs, community organisations and churches throughout the country, facilitating workshop and working with them to achieve their goals. My day to day work is fast paced, working towards new deadlines but I still manage to keep up with my hobbies in particular fitness, due to the work life balance offered.
The Culture. The office environment is relaxed, everyone is very approachable and openly shares ideas with each other about different things going on. For me, as a recent graduate, this is particularly enjoyable. It offers the opportunity to get to know my work colleagues better and learn from the experience of others within the organisation. Dress down Fridays and Work from Home are a huge bonus too!
What have been your biggest highlight since starting at S3?
It’s difficult to name just one because I feel I have accomplished a few milestones both professionally and personally. However, in terms of my professional development, a major highlight has been taking on full responsibility for the co-ordination, delivery and development of a consultancy project, just 1 month into my role. This presented a huge challenge because my experience is primarily in supporting projects and the piece of work was for a community organisation that I know very well. I’m sure you can imagine the pressure! Having successfully completed this piece of work and receiving positive feedback from both the client and company Director, I recognise now that this was a brilliant opportunity to strengthen my leadership and project management skills. My confidence in my abilities have been reinforced and this piece of work is something I am very proud of a newly joined employee, and something I would feel more than capable of completing again.
Moving forward, my plan is to continue to learn about all aspects of business at S3 and that of my clients, and to develop my expertise to successfully support our business goals, and my individual career goals. As internal growth is highly encouraged, I plan on exploring areas of business I have yet to experience including tendering and delivering training programmes.