Mentors and dinosaurs - 18 months in the life of an intern

In the case of Josh Kelly, NE Yorkshire Geology Trust's intern for the last 18 months - a passage to Derby University. When Josh first approached the Geology Trust, he needed some credits for his Duke of Edinburgh Award, he had an interest in geology, was unsure about going to university and had some A Level grades to be improved to grant him some options.

The Geology Trust had the experience of its Summer Volunteer Programmes where a dozen students undertook field work and got training in geology and geoconservation during the 6 weeks of the summer and in return manned events for the general public like fossil walks and Dinodays, events around dinosaurs and fossils across our area.Josh-Kelly-at-Siccar-Point

After an initial induction, Mike Windle, director of the Geology Trust, discussed with Josh the possibility of one-to-one tuition, working towards an improvement of his grades, giving him a better understanding of the science of geology and fostering a love of geology in all its aspects through field work and interaction with the public.

Thanks to a grant of £2000 from York Potash, Mike was able to offer some vital field equipment to Josh, such as the all essential quality geological hammer, and organise a field trip to Siccar Point, the Mecca for all geologists, the particular place on Earth where James Hutton discovered and demonstrated that the Earth was older than 6000 years and that geological processes took a very long time.

For 18 months, the Geology Trust organised twice-weekly sessions with Josh: field techniques like graphic logging, rock and fossil identification, facies interpretation and field sketching, presentations and interaction techniques, recording and organisational skills. Josh was "tested" having to put his newly-acquired skills into practice: putting together field reports, keeping a journal of his experience with the Trust, organising a talk on volcanoes, leading fossil walks and participating in rock and fossil road-shows and Geonaut events in schools.

"Over the course of my time with the Trust, I've been impressed with the amount of different venues and groups that the Trust gets involved with. My favourite would have to be events in schools. Having said that, I also really enjoyed becoming a Victorian geologist at the Robin Hood's Bay Victorian Weekend last December. I might even come back from Uni to take part this year. Until my internship, I hadn't really made the connection between the science I learned and the interest people have in where they live", Josh recalls.

Josh-leading-a-fossil-walkFor Mike and Barry Butler, a former Oxford and OU lecturer, who mentored Josh, the experience has been fascinating. "We tailored our efforts to Josh's requirements in a way that is not possible in a teaching environment. The most important elements of the internship have been to inspire a love of geology and geoconservation and to mentor Josh from a holistic perspective, instilling life skills vital to his experience as a student and hopefully employable geologist", says Mike Windle. Josh freely admits that "my public speaking skills and confidence in front of an audience have improved immeasurably and I still need to improve my time management and record keeping despite massive progress and having purchased a diary!"

All that remains for the Geology Trust is to wish Josh all the best with his next adventure - life as a geology student and hope that he will join us on some of our events when he returns to Scarborough during holiday breaks.

If reading this account inspires you to apply for an internship with the Geology Trust or to become a volunteer, please contact Mike Windle on 01947 88 1000 or email mike@neyorsgeologytrust.com.