Real world experience: engaging with social issues for real change

Opportunities to gain real world experience and apply sociology outside the classroom

There are many opportunities for you to gain real world experience, to apply sociology outside the classroom and bring those experiences back into your academic studies. 

A wide range of work placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities are available to you when you study Sociology at Plymouth. We regularly work with a wide range of partners to ensure that there's something for everyone. 

Case study: LandWorks and the PeN Project

LandWorks is an independent charity providing a supported route back into employment and community for those in prison or at risk of going to prison. The basic framework to LandWorks is gaining work experience through outdoor, physical activity, chiefly through participation on landscaping projects.

The PeN project, which was run by Julie Parsons, current head of Sociology programme, allows trainees to tell their stories in their own words, illustrated through the photographs they take to record their time at LandWorks. It enables the community to engage with the trainees through this blog and other social media.

"My experience with Landworks has changed what job I am thinking about pursuing in the future. I’m now thinking about a job as probation officer or something in that field, rather than as a prison officer. I realised how normal the offenders are and how easy they are to talk to. (…) It’s encouraged me to carry on volunteering in this area and get more experience. This placement has been valuable to me as I’ve learnt and benefited so much from it, from changing my thoughts on my future career to my view of the prison and the prisoners."

Chloe Petit, year two

Case example: Maker Memories 

Maker Memories is a community project that aims to capture the rich and diverse heritage of Maker Camp in South East Cornwall. The project is led by volunteers from the Maker with Rame Community Interest Company. They have been working with a variety of community members to capture stories from the people who attended the camp on a school holiday, to the musicians and artists who are based there today. The project’s volunteers have been supported by Sociology and Media Arts students from the University of Plymouth. 

“In addition to my sociology studies, I also got involved in a local research project supported by the Plymouth History Centre named Maker Memories. Within this project, I got the chance to develop my qualitative research skills through training for oral recording, undertaking interviews and presenting my work in sociology talks organised by the department.” 

Jacquelin Wolf

 

"I completed a month’s placement at Working Links, this experience highlighted to me that I wanted to work directly with people helping make a positive difference to their lives. Since completing my degree, I have worked with adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues and currently work with blind veterans."

Read April Watkins' full story: from sociology to the care sector

 

"The Plymouth Award gave me the opportunity to receive recognition for my extracurricular activities while at university. It also gave me the opportunity to take a cathartic reflection on my time at university, which was invaluable for me to realise that I have gained in confidence, that teaching as a career was a possibility for me. Without it I would be still searching for a career, with no idea which route to take."

Bridget Phillips, BSc (Hons) Sociology graduate