Reflections from SIS Saltire Scholar 2022, Katie Kelly.

12 Oct 2022

  • About SIS

This summer, I’ve spent 10 weeks working as an Impact and Insight Intern at Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and it has been an incredible experience.

I had the exciting opportunity to work primarily on producing the 2021-22 Impact Report – which really was a lovely task because I was able to explore all areas of the work that SIS does, from the Ambitions Programme to tailored funding and customer outreach. I never would have thought when applying to become a Saltire Scholar amidst my third-year deadlines that I would end up finding a sector that I really enjoy working in, and which is making real progress toward changing the make-up of Scotland’s economy.

In a nutshell, SIS enables social enterprises and charities to have positive impact on their communities, society, and the environment. Some of the first pieces of work I did this summer were drafting case studies, one of which was on Jambo! Radio – the only dedicated radio station in Scotland for people of African or Caribbean heritage. By broadcasting online in multiple languages such as Yoruba and Swahili, Jambo! Radio has a wide reach in this specific community, helping to keep them connected to one another and to their culture. This case study really stood out to me because, despite receiving a relatively small loan, they still increased their impact and reach by buying an annual subscription for DAB radio. Just after I had finished drafting the case study, the BBC published an article where one of the presenters of Jambo! Radio, Kemi, talked about how they are bringing people together so that they don’t forget their native home and language – even playing a very small part in supporting that is great. I’ve found, throughout my time here, that this is what SIS does best – helping enterprises have positive impact in their communities, without leaving anyone behind.

“Jambo! Radio is just one example of the many, many enterprises that SIS supports and absolutely the most important asset of SIS is the team. Before I started at SIS, I had worked mostly in coffee shops and had never even heard of social investment. Working at SIS has not only taught me what social investment is but also the positive difference that could be made to communities, society, and the environment by bolstering social investment and filtering social return through enterprises, businesses, and the wider economy.

My first week was a bustle of meeting people and learning acronyms (so many acronyms), but I loved being thrown into the deep end because the SIS team made me feel so welcome that I had the space to ask questions and figure things out without worry. Right from the beginning, I was hands on, amid the work and learning from the vast and varied expertise of the team. By the end of my time with SIS, I have gained and developed skills and knowledge but, even more importantly, my ambition to succeed, enact change, and my confidence have grown exponentially.

465 X 330 Headshots (465 × 350 Px) (24)

It was a little intimidating at first being trusted with such a leading role in the Impact Report. Reporting on impact in this capacity is critical to the credibility and accountability of SIS because it provides measurable and comparable evidence so each year progress can be tracked. So, pretty important to get it right! But there was no need to worry because I was able to work closely with Lindsay, Nicola, and other members of the team, who were amazing throughout the whole process.

Since I study and live in Dundee, the flexible and hybrid working that SIS offers was perfect for me – I was given the freedom and trust to work to my own schedule. This is because the company culture at SIS is nurturing, inspiring and aligned – everyone on the team is working toward the same goal, are passionate about what they do and are friendly and open. It was a brilliant place to work!

Read the latest SIS Impact Report, Building an Impact Economy here.

By the end of my time with SIS, I have gained and developed skills and knowledge but, even more importantly, my ambition to succeed, enact change, and my confidence have grown exponentially.

Katie Kelly

SIS Saltire Scholar