I wanted to share my experience of internships, for once it’s positive!
My story: after a period of indecision over my future following University along with lots of travelling abroad, I got an internship working for a group of public sector bodies. To give you an overview, they wanted to compile a report looking at how the region could adapt to the effects of climate change (increased flooding, higher temperatures, higher rainfall etc). They could’ve hired an environmental consultant who would’ve cost ££££, instead they wanted to help graduates get some experience, so they got 3 interns in.
I was given a set project: researching and writing case studies for the report over a 5 month period on 15 hrs a week (ed: this works out about 10 quid an hour). In return I got industry contacts, constant support, career advice, free training, goals for the project and they let me lead on organising a workshop for victims of flooding. What was even better was they paid me £3,000 for the whole thing and I worked from home, keeping costs down.
My view is we both got a lot of this arrangement. They got a solid piece of work at a low price and I got not just a job, but a career: I’ve since gone on to get full time employment in the climate change and environmental field off the back of this work.
It’s a fascinating area to work in and I’d never have thought of it as a potential role for me if it weren’t for this internship. Support, a small salary and supervision over a short time period is all graduates need, it’s not difficult. I want to encourage employers to see that internships can be incredibly productive for both parties; they just need to stop thinking that they can exploit the good will, hard work and knowledge of young people looking for a start in their lives.