The lifesaving internship
After 8 wonderful weeks, our 2019 earthware internship is over. Let's hand over to Grace to tell you all about it...
This years intership partner is PAPYRUS, a charity that focuses on the prevention of suicide in young people. Alex and I were given 8 weeks to create a solution that could solve an issue that PAPYRUS was facing. We explored many routes but chose the idea of a potentially lifesaving, online safety plan.
The online safety plan
The safety plan acts as a form of written support for those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. Before the online safety plan, when service users rung the HOPELINEUK suicide support hotline, the advisor would discuss steps to keep them safe over the phone, as they could not send them anything by email or text due to confidentiality.
We believed that the online plan was the best choice as it could be achieved in the time given to us and the effect of the plan, if successful, could be significant.
The safety plan allows easy creation for both advisors and users. The safety plan is entirely online, meaning it can be accessed 24/7.
The user security means that advisors do not need to take any personal or contact details from the service user. They simply give them two randomly generated unique words to be able to access their safety plan. The first browser used to access the care plan is then the only place that the plan can be accessed from then on.
Advisors can return and edit safety plans created previously, meaning plans can develop with the service user. After much discussion amongst earthware and PAPYRUS employees, the name ‘Hopeplan’ was chosen with PAPYRUS's version being called ‘Hopelink’.
Shortly after choosing the name Hopeplan I had the opportunity to explore branding and design. This enabled me to learn and work closely with the marketing and design team at earthware. I explored the process behind marketing a product like Hopeplan, such as the promotion plan, writing a product page and creating a video.
Alex and I have loved the experience of working with earthware and PAPYRUS. Here are our thoughts on how the internship has gone...
The last 8 weeks at earthware have been an amazing first experience in commercial software development. I have expanded my knowledge of development and had an insight into how it all happens in the software industry.
Along with all the development. I have partaken in the designing and prototyping of the product, which is a side that I rarely, if ever, see on my course at University. It was an interesting and exciting moment seeing it all come together.
I found the design a challenge due to never being exposed to it. However, progressing my skills was quick with help from those in earthware. Learning a new language and framework was also tricky but I now feel better equipped with knowledge than when I started.
One aspect of my time as an earthware intern that stands out to me is how Grace and I have been treated as equals by other members of the team and we have never been excluded, giving us a sense of belonging and making the whole experience that much more fun!
I will always cherish the memory of working at earthware. I have gained valuable insight into how a business operates; this knowledge is something that I will carry with me into my final year of university. This internship has not only allowed me to learn but also to grow. earthware has helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and try things I never would have imagined such as user testing.
I found prototyping most challenging, but with the support of the earthware team I was able to overcome this. I have found great pleasure in activities such as designing and creating marketing plans as they have allowed me to explore my creative side.
Working with earthware has given me the confidence to interact with people at all levels. I feel lucky to have been invited into such an inclusive team where I have felt that my voice has been heard.