Developing New Professional Skills at Disability Sports Australia


As a program intern at Disability Sports Australia, I am not only gaining experience working in a nonprofit organization, but also working internationally. There are plenty of opportunities to grow a wide variety of skills. Since the organization is located in Sydney, Australia, one would expect it to be difficult to communicate and connect with colleagues, however, Zoom, WhatsApp, and emailing have made it easy to develop important relationships. Through weekly Zoom meetings, my supervisors and I were able to discuss what the week’s tasks entailed and build personal connections. While I did not have much contact with others outside of my department in the organization, we still were able to collaborate when needed over email. We all found it easiest to use WhatsApp. With the major time difference of sixteen hours, we would often find ourselves needed questions answered when the other might not be at work. Sending a message right to a phone made it efficient and easy to get answers, especially since my supervisor only works three days a week. We also used a task managing site that everybody involved was able to access and edit. It was an easy way to keep track of what exactly was needing to get done, as well as, what needed to still be accomplished. Colleagues were able to view everyone’s progress, and communication was very effective. 

One of the hard skills I have been developing is being more involved in organizational projects including project management. I am currently working on the Activate Inclusion Sports Days and have been contributing ways to incorporate dance. Through increased participation and collaboration in and out of the sector, I have been able to establish a solid ground from which dance can be included. I have asked to be included on important meetings and happenings in the organization, join meetings, work with coworkers on important projects, and offer ideas on each project. 

Another hard skill is being better equipped to operate Microsoft Teams, especially Excel. I want to end the internship feeling confident and well versed in the program. I have asked questions about the programs and learned tips and tricks from my supervisor. The best way to hone this skill is to continue using the program to feel more comfortable. Everything we use as a team comes from these programs so it is easy to practice. 

A soft skill I am gaining is important international experience. By working across cultures and obtaining diversity in the workplace, I am learning how to be an effective employee in a unique way. Understanding the other culture and how to be professional on an international scale is an extremely important skill to have. I want to learn as much as I can about the culture and ask questions about working internationally. Just by operating within the company and working and engaging with my coworkers, I have been able to grow my international professional competencies. 

Another soft skill is gaining experience working in different parts of the business, including working with those inside and outside sport. I have not had a lot of experience working for a sports organization, so this opportunity allows me to broaden my perspectives. By feeling confident and knowledgeable about different departments of the company, I am growing my overall employee confidence. I am learning how to navigate a new job effectively. I request to work in different departments to see how they operate, do different types of work, and do work for the different events. I am gaining a good overall perspective on how a nonprofit should be run.

Leave a Reply