Workplace internships are becoming increasingly popular. That’s because they give recent graduates much sought after experience in the workplace and the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the skills that employers seek – for example, the ability to work within complex organisational structures and as part of a team. In return, the employer benefits from the intern’s input and fresh ideas.
The GSM London Careers Department has recently employed two interns – Sonia Taher and Iweta Sokolska – to help deliver their advice service for students. Both interns are qualified and already have a grounding in business, however they needed to build on that experience to the gain a competitive edge when applying for interviews.
Sonia, a former GSM London student, explains: ‘Despite my experience as a customer service advisor, I was nervous when I started as I hadn’t worked in higher education before. However, my managers have been incredibly supportive, provided me with training and I’ve learned a lot – for example: Iweta and I have led a project to improved the student ambassador scheme and I’ve covered everyday things such as getting the most from team meetings.’
Iweta, a graduate in languages and literature, agrees: ‘I was working as an estate agent, but wanted to move to the higher education sector. Changing sector can be difficult, so when I saw this role I applied immediately. Like Sonia, my role focuses on events management and supporting the team – with payroll and projects. There’s a lot to do and it’s given me a great insight into higher education. I learn something new every day’.
Sonia continues: ‘I studied for a BSc (Hons) in Human Resources with Information Systems and hope to follow a career in that sector. As my internship is people focused, it has given me relevant experience that will help me to secure a job in HR when I finish. It has definitely been worth it.
Iweta hopes to stay in higher education: ‘I took a literature degree in Poland and then came to the UK to study English, French and Japanese. In the long-term my aim is take my masters, a PhD, then become a lecturer and researcher. In the short-term I’m like to secure a permanent position in higher education, so I can learn as much as I can about the sector. This internship is the first step towards that aim.