#yousayTuesday – Was your internship worth it?

Last week we had an excellent and erudite contribution from Helen Stringer at Warwick Careers Service on making the most of your internship. The piece gave some excellent advice on how to capitalise on the opportunities handed to you whilst undertaking internships. However, occasionally stories emerge of nightmare internship. These rumoured internships have spread about times where students or graduates have been forced to make coffee all day, file documents or just be a general dogsbody around the office.

Helen's piece got the cogs turning and I was wondering whether, overall, graduates and students had found internships beneficial, fit for purpose or even worth leaving the house for. The unruly world of internships seems to generally be falling into line with what is acceptable. The beauty of internships is that graduates and students can opt out when they are not what they expect. The backlash to this is that in today's job market it is to have previous experience, such is the competitive nature of breaking into that first job.

As ever the #yousayTuesday following is growing, with more of you than ever getting involved in yesterday's discussion. The response was overwhelming. Nearly all of our replies cited that their previous internships had either provided them with excellent skills and opportunities or given them a foot in the door that had directly led to full time employment.

Our own guest blogger Melissa Surgey suggested that her internship with the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) had provided her with loads of skills that allowed her to succeed when she graduated from university. While another #yousayTuesday-er had impressed so much while on their internship that she was offered a job for wen she finished her university course.

These reactions seem to be a part of a general trend and in hindsight seem predictable. Internships are entirely undertaken for the benefit of the intern. This is especially important when the intern is on little or no pay or travel remuneration. If they are investing in an internship with the chance of gaining skills and experience, they won't invest if they are not going to reap the rewards.

The variable in enjoyment of internships often can depend on the size of the company and the arrangement the intern has struck with the employer. The bigger, international companies that have regimented and organised internship programmes often provide the best experience, while smaller SME-type companies can just allow a form of work shadowing to take place and not really have anything laid out for interns to experience or learn. This should not put students or graduates off finding out whether they can intern or gain experience at small companies because likewise it can provide interns with more experience and more independence to learn.

Helen Stringer's advice really advises students and graduates to get the most out of their internships and the advice seems to have worked. For those considering taking an internship the overall advice seems to be go for it. With internships being such a gold mine for career changing skills it appears that the ball is in your court when deciding to take one or not.

Make sure you follow Tuesday's discussion by using the hashtag - #yousayTuesday

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