Student blog: Majid Ajmal – Dutch Municipality Internship in the Field of Public Safety and Security
Internship? The start of my career! I started my internship in September 2018 at the Municipality of Amsterdam, district Southeast. My role as an intern was as an ‘area supporter’ in the area team of Bijlmer West. During these 6 months, I developed myself both personally and professionally, which has now resulted in a career within the municipality!
Bijlmer West is known for its many vacant offices and businesses and since Amsterdam has a lack of housing, the municipality decided to provide additional housing space for new residents in the area. This is where my role as ‘area supporter’ came in place. I helped ‘field brokers’ in their pursuits; I also assisted with what is called ‘participatory democracy’ for residents, visitors, entrepreneurs and professionals in order to establish priorities for new area plans. Furthermore, I performed secretarial tasks and organized many events, meetings and gatherings.
I learned so much about how and why development takes place in certain areas, and why the process can take so long. Moreover, my communication skills developed as I was constantly in conversation with different target audiences to discuss their interests and needs. As civil servants, my colleagues and I strived to put the residents first, which I was very impressed with since I also have an activist side.
Due to this interest in activism and supporting the general public, I was intrigued by safety and security issues in the Bijlmer West area. Hence, I chose to also execute my thesis research at the municipality’s department of safety. My focus was on the strengths and weaknesses in public safety of Bijlmer West which could impact on the planned redevelopment of the area. I interviewed and surveyed many workers, visitors and civil servants in this area, and I was also part of a working group for the Dutch certification scheme, KVO, in order to enhance the safety in this area and find new solutions.
After my thesis research, I felt a great deal of support from the project and development teams at the municipality. They read my proposed policy advice and – to my surprise - employed my findings as input in their new projects! I felt really proud of myself and started to gain more confidence!
After my graduation in June 2019, I started applying for different jobs. This was not an easy task, but somewhere at the end of October I saw a vacancy for ‘area supporter’ at the municipality of Amsterdam in the South District. I applied, and after one round of resume checks, and three rounds of interviews, I was chosen out of 160 applicants to become the ‘area supporter’ of de Pijp, Rivierenbuurt in Amsterdam South.
I started this new job in January 2020 and am so excited to finally contribute to the developments in Amsterdam. It was always my dream to assist residents in meeting their needs and discover problems in the area and help tackle them. My internship was the start of my career, but the real start of my career was my first day at IPM.