This summer I had the pleasure of completing a 10-week project placement with Nifty Sustainability. The opportunity presented itself through my MSc in Sustainability and Consultancy at the University of Leeds. My time with Nifty involved a consultancy style project with their partnering organisation International Mixed Ability Sport (IMAS). As a keen sportsperson, I was really excited to work with IMAS and help spread their message of inclusive sporting opportunities. My research for IMAS involved exploring the concept of ESG and considering the opportunities it could present them. This offered an exciting research prospect for me, as it would unite my passions of sport and sustainability.
The project process brought some great personal experiences and insights. The first of these involved being invited to IMAS’ weekly catch-up with their trainers; the IMAS trainers are individuals who work and volunteer for IMAS, helping to spread the Mixed Ability message. Meeting these people demonstrated the power of Mixed Ability sport and its impact on society. Hearing the Trainers' passion about Mixed Ability sport helped me reflect on my preconceptions about sport and disability. The experience also demonstrates that inclusion, friendship, and competition are the core values of sport, rather than results and personal achievements. I was also fortunate enough to visit Barnsley College with IMAS. This day involved presentations about IMAS and some inclusive physical activity. It was great to see IMAS’ work first-hand, get involved with some Kin Ball, and experience the College students’ reception to Mixed Ability.
My final two weeks of the project placement involved conducting semi-structured interviews with IMAS and Nifty representatives. This was a great opportunity to understand more about IMAS and gain primary data for my project dissertation. These conversations were honest, insightful, and enjoyable. The interviews and observations provided valuable data and analysis for my dissertation. The dissertation due date was the end of August and it kept me busy during the summer months. Despite some difficult days, Claire and Jen were so helpful throughout the whole process - their support and knowledge of academic research and writing was invaluable.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to Nifty Sustainability and IMAS for providing such a great placement experience and welcoming me into their organisations. Following this project placement, I started my full-time professional career with the infrastructure company, AECOM. I will reflect on Nifty’s values throughout my future career and pursue work that promotes social value and creates effective change. I will be starting my job in Leeds and look forward to catching up with Nifty and IMAS in person soon!