Empowering London Student Spotlight Interview with Massimo Peluso

Our Empowering London module's student spotlight this month is on Massimo Peluso, who's a third-year Psychology and Sociology BSc student and did his work placement at Marie Curie.

Why did you want to get involved with your work placement organisation? 

The reason I wanted to get involved with my work placement organisation, the Marie Curie cancer charity, is due to the variety of work they do along with the Marie Curie nurses to ensure better care for patients suffering from terminal illnesses. I'm currently studying the Psychology and Sociology BSc course and it also triggered my interest in learning about issues that affect local communities and inspired me to try and make a difference. My work placement was very rewarding and has achieved this goal. In terms of previous volunteer experience, I've volunteered in primary schools and was involved with fund-raising and promoting awareness for important issues such as human trafficking and bullying, as well as working with charities such as CAFOD which provided me with foundational knowledge on the charity sector and how giving back to the community works. What motivates me to want to help, is the difference that it can make and of course the vital skills that come along with that responsibility. Clearly seeing the impact that the charity and its shops have made on the community is very empowering. 


Out of the six challenges facing London, which challenge did you address and how did you address it with your work placement provider? 

The most evident challenge facing London that has and will continue to be tackled by the charity, is health improvement. The charity helps individuals and families with terminal illnesses by raising funds through direct donations that will help to ensure better life chances. This means less people will suffer from terminal illnesses and have the assistance they need. The charity owns around 180 retail stores in total around the country. For my placement, I worked in a managerial role at one of the charity shops which involved running the whole store, serving customers, and dealing with inventory and end of week figures.  Every single penny that is made in store goes directly towards the charity and helping those in need. During my placement, there were clear signs of improvement and ways that the local community have benefited from the charity's work. Members of the public would inform me and other colleagues of their appreciation for the charity. For example, one customer had a family member with terminal illness and the charity helped the patient to obtain the best medical treatment. The charity also regularly organizes events such as Swimathons and Pride celebrations to raise money and awareness and further help the cause.


What skills and knowledge have you developed from your Empowering London work placement and how do you plan to apply them towards your future goals?

The skills and qualities that I've developed from the Empowering London work placement include patience, proactivity, and compassion. I acquired these traits from resolving customer queries and communicating with both staff and customers. For example, I had to quickly think on the spot and diffuse difficult situations where customers were engaged in conflicts with each other to ensure the situation didn't get out of hand. My future career aspirations include working in schools and specializing in youth development such as counselling. Therefore, I can apply the skills that I've acquired in job interviews and working settings. Something interesting I've learned while working at the charity is about the impact that charities have and the value they add to the local community. This includes personal issues that many customers whose family members are suffering from terminal illnesses face and how our store and Marie Curie nurses have actually helped make a difference to their lives. I am very thankful and happy that I chose the Empowering London work placement module, as well as the organisation that I did my placement at.
a portrait of Massimo Peluso