A great internship experience is possible
Sarah discusses her experience as an intern
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It contrasted greatly with the stories of companies who seek interns simply as a cheaper alternative to staff"
While all publicity is said to be good publicity, this has not generally been obvious in the case of internships in recent years. Certainly, people of all ages deserve payment and recognition for work done and this has not materialised for some who have devoted effort and energy to completing internships in a bid to gain a foothold on the career ladder. As a result of the experiences of some, however, internships have become a model which can tend to be dismissed on some employment forums and looked upon with disdain by others.
I would like to respond to this scepticism by way of reference to an internship programme which has been beneficial and comprehensive and which has created progression paths to guide participants towards full and meaningful employment. In my field of journalism, media and communications, a number of companies have created internship programmes through which they can acquire trained-up talent, ready to make a significant contribution to the company’s work.
An internship I completed in advance of my final year of college instilled in me a wealth of knowledge about the direction in which the industry is moving. Trainees were empowered to complete a wide range of tasks, which created tangible results for the business, while being fairly re-numerated for their daily work. Over the course of the six month programme, participants were provided with multiple opportunities to strengthen and flex their talents while experiencing work in many different strands of the business. Trainees were not looked down upon or asked to complete menial tasks, but rather encouraged to develop professionally and allowed to focus on tasks which best suited their interests.
As a student at the time, I also grew in a personal capacity over the duration of the programme as I worked in collaboration with others and gained an insight into relationships with clients and stakeholders. A number of opportunities within the business arose as the programme concluded and participants were looked upon favourably where the experience and knowledge they had gained matched the business’ requirements.
Having completed university, I later re-joined the company and spent almost two fantastic years working alongside expertly talented colleagues who quickly became friends. Seizing the initial internship opportunity shaped my life in a way I had never previously imagined. I developed several capacities, including an insight into how best to work with colleagues and clients, how to work under pressure and how to handle responsibility.
This was just my experience, but it was an overwhelmingly positive one for me.
It contrasted greatly with the stories of companies who seek interns simply as a cheaper alternative to staff, without making training, payment or further opportunities available to candidates.
For those looking to build skills, gain an insight into life in the workplace and take a step towards employment, I would certainly recommend anyone to take a closer look at all that an internship can offer.