Queen's Graduates Play Key Role in NICVA's Research Team

NICVA recently participated in an Internship Programme with Queen's University and Santander, and through the scheme employed two Research Interns to support the Research Team. This article sheds light on their contribution to the NICVA team. 

NICVA has been delighted to participate in an internship programme operated jointly by Queen’s University and Santander. Through the programme NICVA has employed two Research Interns, Niall Robb and Lisa Irvine. Niall and Lisa have been employed at NICVA since July 2016 and have been involved in the delivery of NICVA’s new Faith Based Engagement project.

Niall and Lisa’s main responsibilities have been developing a database of all faith based organisations, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, and designing and disseminating a survey to these organisations. Through their analysis of the database, Niall and Lisa have already provided a detailed overview of what the faith sector in Northern Ireland looks like and they have shared this information with key stakeholders. As well as designing the faith survey, Niall and Lisa were involved in promoting the survey through a range of methods, analysing the survey data and reporting on the results.

Whilst at NICVA, Niall and Lisa have had the opportunity to support other research projects, for example the 2016 Individual Giving survey and the Brexit Viewfinder.  In addition, they have participated in and helped facilitate some of NICVA’s key policy and research events, such as the State of the Sector Launch and the Festival of Economics, and have attended Open Data training.

Rachel Shannon, Research Officer at NICVA, comments on the contribution Niall and Lisa have made to the Research Team:

“Niall and Lisa have been a great asset to the Research Team at NICVA. They have played a key role in the delivery of the faith based project and they have also contributed to other projects and events at NICVA. They have brought much enthusiasm and work ethic to their roles and I wish them both every success in the future.”

Lisa comments on her experience at NICVA and her plans for the future:

“I have gained invaluable experience throughout my time as a Research Intern at NICVA. Being involved in this project has allowed me to build upon my data collection and analysis skills as well as fuelling my love for social research. A great aspect of the internship has been the opportunity to be involved with other projects that NICVA’s Research Team have been working on, and attending interesting training sessions that are relevant to my career goals. It has also allowed me to see the impact that robust research can have. It is my hope to return to QUB to study for a Masters degree in Social Science Research next year. Thank you Santander, Queen’s and NICVA for this great opportunity!”

Niall also comments on his experience at NICVA and what he plans to do next:

“I am grateful to the Santander and QUB agreement for enabling me to take up a six month post in NICVA conducting research with Lisa, Rachel and the rest of the NICVA team into the community and voluntary sector. The post has allowed for me to make practical use of the skills I gained at university through work which included data analysis, project planning, and report writing as well as soft skills like team work and communications. The work has been challenging but manageable in a friendly and dynamic workplace. The timing of the internship was also very convenient for me as a masters students as it bridged the gap between submitting my dissertation and graduating, giving me time to explore my options and think about what I would like to do going forward. I now have an internship lined up for the coming year and after that I have ambitions of continuing to work in a research environment.”

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