GUEST POST: Internships – the new way to access graduate talent

Employers are often unsure of the differences between apprenticeships and internships. Apprentices tend to be of school leaving age, whereas interns tend to be graduates, although this is by no means set in stone. Apprentices work towards qualifications, interns often aim for a full time role in the company, although this is not guaranteed. In this guest post, Alex Towney from Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding graduates internships in London and throughout the UK, shares his view of internships.

In an age where a degree alone is no longer enough to secure a graduate job, internships are helping to equip graduates with all important work experience. Internships provide interns with an insight into potential career options, a taste of working life, and allow them to turn the knowledge gained at university into the skills that employers want and need.

A proper internship must be time restricted, normally to 3 months, and the host company must offer to cover the candidate’s travel and lunch expenses as a minimum. Candidates must be supervised throughout their time with the company, receiving a comprehensive insight into the business with a full introduction to aid their initial integration. Interns must also be free to attend any training sessions and afforded regular performance reviews to evaluate their time with the organisation. In return an intern will try and prove to be indispensable to the company and demonstrate their worth with the aim of securing a full-time position at the end of their internship.

We helped Claire Fitzpatrick find an internship opportunity that she started in March. Claire is an economics graduate from the University of Manchester, and is currently completing a three-month advertising operations internship with an independent digital agency. We caught up with Claire to discuss her experiences so far:

What is the best thing about interning at your company? My internship has enabled me to gain experience at a leading media company within a department that is young, fresh and dynamic. This combination has given me the best experience that I could ask for from an internship. The networking opportunities are incomparable – I have loved meeting new people and learning about the route they took into the world of work. My new contacts’ knowledge of the business world has expanded my overall business understanding and has put me in good stead for future employment.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt so far? I have learnt a great deal from my internship. My general computer knowledge has improved greatly: I am now extremely competent when using Microsoft Excel and the different digital platforms. These are skills that I know are valuable in the job market. I have also been able to improve my public speaking skills by giving speeches at several company events and have received great feedback! The lessons I have learnt have been very beneficial and I know I will be able to use these in my future roles.

What does your internship involve on a day-to-day basis? My role entails learning about trafficking campaigns and how to make sure that we optimise delivery to the clients’ needs. I am also training to be a junior account manager so I will be able to sign off all campaigns and make sure that they adhere to the company’s policies. I work closely with the sales team and with clients whose campaigns I am trafficking – I help to produce weekly delivery reports and make sure clients know how their campaign is performing. My internship is very diverse and has allowed me both to develop all of my existing skills and gain some new ones.

How did you find your internship? I approached Inspiring Interns! Inspiring was fundamental in my internship–hunt: I wouldn’t have been able to secure my internship without them. Their helpful and friendly attitude meant that I was able to go to a variety of interviews and with their help ultimately chose the internship I am currently in. Even if my internship doesn’t lead to a full time job I know that the experience I have gained whilst working at my company has been invaluable and a great stepping stone in my future career.