My internship experience: developing my employability, furthering my academic studies and working to promote race equality

Recent LLB law graduate, Lottie Boateng-Kennett tells us more about undertaking an internship working as a Research Assistant at Research Action Coalition for Race Equality (RACE) at the end of her final year – opening up opportunities, experiences and the making of new friends in the sphere of understanding and tackling race and equality.

“I have literally never worked in such a nurturing, compassionate and refreshing space centred upon a commitment to race equality. Interning with RACE has been one huge lightbulb moment!”

Lottie Boateng-Kennett (right)


I saw the role advertised as part of the Bristol Model through the Professional Liaison Network, in the last few weeks of my Law LLB. Studying Law and Race, Immigration Law and framing my Final Year Research Project on the injustices suffered by the Windrush Generation lit a fire inside me. Born and raised in Bristol, I was empowered to contribute to tangible change within the race equality space and this role was the perfect opportunity to do so. Opening that email and applying was one of the best things I did the entire year.

The Role, The Team

I applied to intern with RACE because I had never seen a role like it. I’m not sure if that was because I wasn’t looking in the right place, or because I simply didn’t know that roles like this existed. I was so thrilled that in my interview, I said ‘I’m so excited’ maybe 50 times.

I worked with RACE as a Research Assistant. With my colleagues, Tobi and Morayo, I worked under the supervision of Angelique, Mina and Saffron and with other incredible members of the team – like Kat who took some time out of her busy schedule to provide us with some social media and communications training. If it’s one thing the RACE Team will do, it’s ensure you are equipped.

The Project

My primary role was on the Mapping element of the Project with Morayo, though tangential tasks arose incrementally throughout the Summer. It was very flexible and very self-driven. You take on as much as you can and have free reign to get involved in as much as you’d like. For example, whilst thinking through ideas one afternoon, we came up with #BSWhatDoYouThink? – a hashtag Black South West Network (BSWN) now uses to promote its debate platform. We were invited to live-tweet the RACE Launch Event. We worked on a video on Being Gen Z with BSWN. We were encouraged to write submissions, articles, think-pieces. Your ideas are truly valued here.

The Mapping Project was our little baby. In the early stages, it required rudimentary research into publicly available data. Once we had the foundations in place, it was time to start interviewing organisations. Morayo and I met so many incredible people, bodies and networks that do brilliant work. The main objective was to create a physical map, for both Bristol City Council and for RACE. I would never have imagined that I would be attached to a map. But I am. It’s our Summer’s work – and I think it’s fantastic. It’s the first of its kind: a map of the race equality space in the South-West. We did that!

Morayo, Melissa, Natalie and Lottie

I learnt –

I think one of my favourite things about interning with RACE was the insight to a world I didn’t know existed. It was especially interesting to gain this insight through the lens of data accessibility – something I’ve never considered before.

Interning with RACE has massively expanded my skillset. It’s nurtured my confidence. From evidence-based analysis, to summarising heaps of qualitative data. I’ve developed my own interview technique. I can finally navigate Excel beyond colour coding cells. I know that I can contribute to the change I want to see, even if it is just a little.

“I’ve built connections with some of the most incredible, most hard-working, relentless people I’ve ever met and I hope to have them for a very long time. If you’re committed to race equality, intrigued by the dimensions of data accessibility and up with working with the best bunch ever, I can’t recommend this internship enough.”

Further to my internship, I was put forward for extra opportunities. I was asked to host a book launch for ‘Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Glowing Up’ from (Mariah-Carey-endorsed) The Black Girls Book Club, for Bloomsbury Publishers. I was invited to work for BSWN – RACE’s umbrella network – and had an excerpt of my Final Year Research Paper published in the Bristol Black History Magazine. Talking with co-authors Natalie and Melissa at Book Haus – Bristol’s newest bookshop opened by the profound David Olusoga – was a dream. It was so comforting to be surrounded by successful black women, yet paradoxically unnerving because it was a total first for me. We even sold out tickets! I love how the internship with RACE has not just ended, but that the relationships I cultivated during the Summer have turned into friendships, mentorships and other beautiful opportunities.

Find out more

Learn more about the study of law and race and what you can expect to cover in the Law School’s Law and Race unit by reading the 2021/22 unit catalogue.

The Bristol Model offers udergraduate students the opportunity to work as Research Assistants, to gain experience of academic research and apply your learning to real social and economic challenges. Working with leading academics and partner organisations you’ll make new connections and expand your professional network.

Applications are currently open for a Research Assistant role on the Research Action Coalition for Race Equality (RACE) projectdeadline 12 midday, 28 October 2021. The PLN will be recruiting for more Bristol Model Research Assistant roles between now and August 2022.

Why is having a mentor important for my career development?

Kicking off Mentoring Month 2021, this month we are shining a light on the Law School mentoring schemes, offering our current law students the opportunity to gain deeper insights into working in commercial law, applying their law degree to a less corporate role, or gaining networks in their home countries. We hear from previous Professional Mentoring Scheme participants, Hannah Bellingall (mentee) and Alex Farrell-Thomas (mentor) as they outline the best bits and learnings from their experience last academic year.

What can I gain from being mentored during my law degree?

“When I first applied for the Professional Mentoring Scheme, I was still unsure which career path I wanted to take. Although I had attended several networking events, I felt there was not a space I could have a genuinely honest conversation with those who work with commercial law.

The mentoring scheme was a way I could gain way more insight into commercial law in general and have a candid conversation on topics such as work/life balance and mental health with someone within the industry.

It was also amazing to talk to someone who had been through the application process themselves, and my mentor was able to offer great feedback and tips on how to write good applications and which strategies are best to use.”

Hannah Bellingall is a final year LLB Law student, having taken part in the Professional Mentoring Scheme in 2020-21 during her second year.

How will my mentor be able to support me?

“I took part in the Professional Mentoring Scheme last year, whilst working at Osborne Clarke. I really liked the idea of giving something back – and giving advice to someone in a similar position that I was in, not so long ago, as a student myself.

I could really relate to the kind of difficulties that my mentee was having and the advice that she was after.

Being able to speak as someone who is now working at a law firm, and understand how you develop the skills to get there – I found that the scheme was a great opportunity to share some of that knowledge and be there to answer questions that my mentee had. Hopefully the experience enabled us both to develop some new skills.

As a junior lawyer, now that I start to delegate work to other juniors in my team, I think it’s important to stop and consider, if I was in their position, what do they need from me to be able to complete the task that I have asked them to help with? The mentoring scheme helped me to develop those skills because it allowed me to reflect and put myself in someone else’s position.”

Alex Farrell-Thomas is an Employment Associate at Osborne Clarke and joined the Professional Mentoring Scheme during 2020-21.

We offer three distinct mentoring schemes to allow students to explore a variety of career paths. Here we’ve set out some tips to help you decide which scheme to choose:

“I want to explore corporate/commercial routes (i.e solicitor/barrister)” we recommend choosing the Professional Mentoring Schemefind more information here.

“I want to explore wider career paths outside of corporate/commercial routes (i.e. careers in human rights, policy…)” we recommend choosing the Law in Society Mentoring Schemefind more information here.

“I’m an international student and would like to build legal networks in my home country” we recommend the International Law Mentoring Schemefind more information here.


The Professional Mentoring Scheme is open to second year LLB and final year MA students. The Law in Society Mentoring Scheme is open to second and final year LLB and MA students. The International Law Mentoring Scheme is open to second year, final year LLB, MA and LLM Law students.

How to apply

Please check all eligibility requirements before applying. Please note that applications for the Professional Mentoring Scheme open on Monday 4 October and close at midnight on Friday 22 October.

Applications for the Law in Society and International Law Mentoring Schemes open on Wednesday 6 October and close on Sunday 31 October.

Find out more about our mentoring schemes here.