• Are Internships Slave Labour or an Opportunity to Gain Valuable Experience and Vital Skills? A First-Hand Account

    Date: 7 March, 2013 | Author: | Category: General

    After finishing university I had high hopes of quitting my monotonous part time call centre job (that I did to help finance my studies as I didn’t want to be landed with loan debt) and landing the exciting marketing role I have been working towards for the last couple of years. However, after the first few weeks applying for jobs it dawned on me how difficult it was going to be. I found myself in the same Catch 22 situation as nearly every other graduate – I needed relevant work experience but nobody was prepared to give me any.

    After months of searching on various job boards without success I managed to land an expenses paid internship. It felt like I had finally managed to get my foot in the door and I could now focus on proving my worth and securing a permanent position within the company. After my first couple of days I noticed that I wasn’t the only intern in the office, nearly every entry level position was filled by an intern. Some had been there for three months, others for six, and the person I had replaced had been there for just under a year, still on an expenses-only contract. I quickly accepted that it was unlikely to materialise into a full time role and wanted to learn as much as I could during my time there.

    The initial job application stated that is wasn’t going to be the type of internship where you would only be expected to make the teas and I wasn’t disappointed. I went in for a two day induction where I was taught how to use various systems and given a detailed outline of what would be expected of me on a daily basis. Within the space of two days I had already picked up a range of new skills I could take forward into future roles.

    I, and the other interns in the office, all had clearly defined roles; our own responsibilities to fulfil like everyone else.  Unlike other internships you hear about where all you are expected to do is shadow a member of staff, it felt like what I was doing had a certain level of importance to the company. Rather than just overseeing what someone else was doing I had my own deadlines to meet and had to deal with the pressures that came with that.

    Although I struggled financially as the expenses didn’t actually cover my weekly commute from Hastings to London I felt that overall it was a beneficial experience. It gave me a practical insight into the marketing field and I now have something relevant to put on my CV.


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