Hey there you lovely lot! I have something a little extra special to share with you guys today! So it may have looked like I got up to nothing over the Summer, but I was actually working undercover for a top secret organisation where I was under oath and sworn to secrecy to not tell a soul about it!
Okay, I’ve been watching too many agent/spy movies – sorry, not sorry – but I did keep myself busy over the summer by bagging myself an internship experience with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)! And I thought it might be useful to tell you guys my experience and the benefits I received from it! Especially for those who are still at uni (like myself) and are looking for some advice on getting some experience for the big, wide, world of work!
So, as a Creative Writing and English Lit undergrad it wasn’t an internship that appealed to me at first. Why? Because the LEP provide support for small businesses across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding and basically I didn’t have the first clue about businesses – shocker – or how they functioned! But here’s my experience, it’s quite brief but hopefully you get the general gist of what I did. Here we go…
It wasn’t the first job I had in mind to apply to or at the top of my ‘most interested’ list but I took a risk with it, after all it was the experience I wanted to gain from it which would make it easier to apply for future jobs as it is seen as a professional position.
So, from the interview stage (which I somehow succeeded at) my first day came around pretty quickly. First feels were mostly nerves and a little bit of excitement! Previously I had only worked in retail so this was my first professional job, my first office job and in my head I was telling myself it was my first grown-up job! So there I was, intern Iram reporting for duty!
All I can say was that I was completely surprised! The job was totally not what I expected (in a good way!) My role as ‘Communications Intern’ – sounds fancy right? – meant that I was assisting the Communications Officer with projects i.e. updating social media, designing emails, writing for the website, attending events etc etc… I won’t bore you with all the details but I blooming loved it! Mostly because of the people I was lucky enough to be surrounded with. I was surprised at how broad the organisation was and within the lovely little office in York, a range of different departments were present. From a fellow intern like myself to chief officers and managers, everybody just got along with everybody – and I was welcomed in with open arms into their little work family!
Bagged myself a cheeky little bio on the LEP website too!
I’ll give you a little peek of my workspace I had for the summer! (looks empty but there were other people around!)
From the dinghy little sports shop I used to work at, this became a whole new working world for me. Most importantly during my experience, I learnt a hell of a lot of things! My people skills grew massively alongside my confidence! I was putting my own ideas forward and learned the ins and outs of new digital software which at first was completely alien to me but (not meaning to brag) I could end up using it with my eyes closed towards the end! Now that’s what I call learning new skills!
So, basically if you watch too many American TV shows and movies (like me) then get it out of your head whatever it is you think interns are expected to do. I wasn’t standing around making photocopies all day and I didn’t become the office coffee slave! Here’s a little spoiler alert in the real world of internships – you actually learn things!
I kept a dated day-to-day record of what tasks I was supposed to work on, this was so I could reflect back on at then end of what I had done and when, so basically just a checklist to keep things in order. Oooh, I think that counts as more skills gained, organisation and meeting deadlines on point! Score!
My personal little space feat. a cuppa and maoams 🙂
Not only was the inside all lovely and cool, the office building was placed on site of one of the campuses of the University of York, and was full of wildlife – particularly geese (and from this came a lot of geese poop – not as great!)
Pretty isn’t it?
So, as my time with the LEP came to an end I was able to leave with a small portfolio of the projects I participated in. I know this will benefit massively in the future because it’s something I can show future potential employers in interviews (hopefully making me look more impressive 😉 )
However, before I left on my last day I got spoilt rotten by the staff with the most lovely gifts ever! Along with a lovely bunch of pink roses and a couple of lovely cards with the sweetest messages from everyone! I was definitely feeling the love!
My advice: For those wanting an internship/placement
- For all those who are studying an undergraduate course at uni I strongly recommend applying for placements and internships at some point, whether they’re paid or unpaid, no matter how short or long they last, it will look AMAZING on your CV and from it you will have gained some professional references which will help when applying for those big time jobs in the future.
- Working as a communications intern wasn’t a job role I thought I would be interested in, but I surprised myself and ended up thoroughly enjoying my time with the LEP. So apply for things a little outside your comfort zone, things that don’t normally appeal to you. You’ll find that you have this whole range of hidden talents and skills, I know I did! And if you don’t like it you have to remember placements are only temporary, you’re not there forever!
- I applied for this internship through my university on the York St John website. A lot of universities/colleges will offer this for their students and generally have someone in charge of handling internships/placements. So have a nosy round your uni website or get in touch with a tutor or someone from the careers advisory. Talk to a careers advisor about what line of work interests you so this way you might be able to get a placement that’s suited to that career field.
- If you are successful in getting a placement then keep in contact with your colleagues, you will be asked for valid references from future jobs you want to apply to and if you’re lucky enough as I was to work with a lovely group of people then you will have no problem in getting a glowing reference!
As an English student I underestimated just how broad the career fields reached for such a subject. The world of marketing and communications is an ocean and I’ve just dipped my toe in it – it is just one of the many options I can take as a future career.
So what am I doing now? *Warning! Sarcasm up ahead* I have the lovely jubbly third (and final) year of uni to attend! Yay! Where I get the honour of writing a super, duper, awesome dissertation! Awesome, cool, I can’t wait! Okay, was that too much? Yeah, I thought so too. For all of you who are not about to experience their third year (lucky buggers) I’ll be regularly updating my experiences on here of what’s to come, and I’ll try my very best to give the best possible advice I can – so you can either learn from me or my mistakes! A win-win situation really!
I hope this post was helpful! And if you have any questions, or would want me to explain things further drop me a few lines at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the post and I will definitely get back to you!
Ciao for now!