My first month at Oriel Square proved to be a very smooth and enjoyable introduction to the world of educational publishing. I was able to transfer existing knowledge and skills to my work, particularly with regards to social media and desk research, and received plenty of support from the team to better understand the business.
I’ve enjoyed spending my second month building on that work and learning more both about the publishing industry and the areas of the business that especially interest me. I’ve taken on several new challenges which have tested the boundaries of my comfort zone and enabled me to work across more of the services Oriel Square delivers.
Taking on challenges
While on the face of it not particularly exhilarating, an exciting challenge I took on this month involved data validation for a research project, for which I needed to work to a tight deadline. Having just completed a master’s focused on qualitative research, I was somewhat out of practice at working with quantitative data.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the chance to branch out into a different type of task. Armed with Khan Academy in one browser window and the Google Sheets function list in another, I delved into figuring out what analysis had been performed on the data, and how to replicate it to corroborate the accuracy of the results. Another team member reviewed my work and confirmed that the methodology was functional and successfully verified the data. I also conducted additional statistical analysis and put together an at-a-glance summary of the key takeaways, making the data easier to understand.
I appreciated the trust that was placed in me to handle an urgent assignment. It was refreshing to grapple with something beyond the usual remit of my work, and rewarding to be able to provide support on a high-priority project.
Developing new skills: Design training
I also hugely enjoyed attending two design training sessions led by Rebekkah, Oriel Square’s fantastic Design Manager. One of these covered Adobe Illustrator and relevant skills for the marketing team, while the other gave an overview of InDesign for editorial purposes. While I spend far more of my time supporting the marketing team than I spend working on editorial projects, it was great to learn about the specific skills needed for each.
The training sessions were brilliantly run and went far beyond a simple walkthrough of programme tools and how to use them. For instance, in addition to the basics of how to use Illustrator, the marketing session covered brand guidelines (including the theory behind the Oriel Square colour palette!), key design terms, and the differences between various image and file types. Rebekkah also made sure to point out where various functionalities were likely to be relevant to projects, which was not always obvious to the untrained eye. The session also included a series of follow-up tasks to check participants’ understanding which solidified how to use Illustrator for marketing and built my confidence in using the programme.
Though I focus more on social media strategy than graphic design, I found that these workshops increased my autonomy in both marketing and editorial work, and improved my problem-solving ability in both areas. Both training sessions felt like a great investment in the team and provided me with a strong foundation for any future design work I may do.
Planning for my last few weeks at Oriel Square
Throughout my internship so far, I’ve appreciated the emphasis placed on my professional development and and have been able to practise the types of skills I’m eager to refine. The challenges I’ve taken on this month have certainly contributed to that goal in a variety of ways, with the self-driven learning of the data validation project providing an enjoyable counterpoint to the explicit focus on top-down training in the design sessions. I have also enjoyed the continued diversity of my work across the breadth of services Oriel Square offers.
In the last few weeks of my internship, I’ll be wrapping up my ongoing project assessing Oriel Square’s social media presence with the goal of ensuring we consistently deliver helpful content which is both accessible and inclusive. I’m excited to find out what other challenges lie ahead and see what the lasting impacts of my work will be.