The importance of internships for employability
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
So this isn't actually an article written by me, but I was interviewed by Top Univerisites for it, so I thought I would share it! It covers the importance of internships when increasing your employability. Please read and share!
Internships are a convenient way to gain some work experience while studying and are intended to be flexible for both the student and the employer. If you’re unsure whether or not to do an internship, you may be interested to find out how it might boost your career prospects. DeltaNet International, a Leicestershire based eLearning provider, offers internships for students from universities in the local area. We spoke to the firm’s managing director, Darren Hockley, about the benefits of completing an internship while at university.
You’ll gain experience in an office environment Teamwork is often something that employers look for in graduates. If the role you’re going for is an office-based role, you’ll be looked upon highly if you have previous experience working in an office. Hockley said that interns at DeltaNet International get the opportunity to work at a fast-growing technology company. “We’re always on the move here at DeltaNet International and getting used to the pace will really help students adapt to life after university,” he explained. This prepares students to work in a fast-paced office environment after graduation. He added: “I think learning how to be agile and adaptive is imperative for graduates. You’ll learn how to keep an open mind working with the team here, and that’s a good outlook to start with”.
You can test out a career path before committing India Wentworth, an English graduate from the University of Leicester, completed an internship with DeltaNet over two consecutive summers. Although eLearning wasn’t something India wanted to pursue in her long-term career, she did want to get into journalism, so when she saw the advert for a marketing copywriter, she thought it would offer her some valuable writing experience. “It may not have been journalism exactly,” said India, “but writing for a company was still going to improve my writing skills, so I went for it”. “Internships are a wonderful opportunity to dip a toe into a few areas of interest before committing yourself entirely,” agreed Hockley. India has since completed her NCTJ diploma and is now pursuing freelance writing.
You can use the connections to find a permanent role Georgia Brazier, a jobs expert at Milkround, explained how internships may help students land permanent roles through the connections they build. She said: “Internships are increasingly necessary for many entry-level job requirements, and students should call on their existing professional connections to secure work opportunities and gain relevant experience."
Although nearly all of DeltaNet’s interns have had set plans for after graduation, Hockley said the firm was certainly open to offering interns full time positions if the timing worked out. “Having an internship under the belt demonstrates a real interest and passion for the subject,” said Hockley.
You’ll gain transferable skills While DeltaNet is a learning tech company, the majority of their interns have worked in the marketing department. Here, interns have gained a host of transferrable skills, such as planning, organisation, persuasiveness and effective communication. “The work involved getting to grips with a lot of heavy compliance and health and safety information too, so our interns had to be able to quickly digest complex information and turn it into something relatable and interesting,” revealed Hockley. India told us about the skills she gained from her internship with DeltaNet. She said: “I’m much stronger at working to deadlines now and time management comes with that, as I was constantly writing articles to deadlines. “Writing on subjects that were alien to me has really helped me be able to quickly get to grips with things and write about them with confidence, which are skills I need as a journalist as well.” You’ll have something to talk about in interviews “[The internship] has given me so much to talk about in interviews,” said India. “At the end of the day, a degree doesn’t make you stand out anymore – it’s all about work experience. “By working as a copywriter for two summers, I can show that I was actually employed to write content in a professional capacity. All the skills that have come from that allow me to impress employers with everything I’ve learnt too.”
Brazier said: “It’s important that graduates understand the skills employers are looking for and how they can upskill themselves, by developing their softer-skills and practicing virtual interview techniques, such as presenting on camera or video.”
You’ll get to work on exciting projects During the internship, students are often given a project to work on. While working at DeltaNet, India was working on a large-scale digital PR project, creating databases to work out what questions people were asking on Google. “From these databases I then went on to write the articles” explained India. “These pieces explained things that could be quite dry and confusing (like cyber security) and I had to turn it into approachable, easy-to-understand articles for people to read.” India then got to see how her hard work had impacted the company. She said: “My work improved the SEO for the company because more people were coming to the website, and as a result their numbers of customers have shot up ever since. “Hearing how thousands have read the articles makes me really proud, especially when it actually has a significant impact on the success of the company. A random outcome was that one of my articles on the Terrorism Act was used in a school textbook, which was pretty cool!”
You can be creative and try something new If there’s an aspect of the role that the intern is particularly interested in learning more about, employers will try to help interns explore and develop their skills in that area. Hockley said: “Like all jobs, there is a certain level of ‘sameness’ to each day, but if you’re interested in trying something new, we’re all ears! “We’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of our interns so far, and so we’ve felt comfortable handing over more and more diverse projects for them to sink their teeth into.”
It shows employers you take initiative India explained that taking the time to complete an internship shows employers that you have strong work ethic and are willing to work hard. Her advice to students? “University gives you long summers off, so fill them with experiences that will impress employers and earn extra income too,” she said. She added: “I’ve seen a lot of students waste summers, and then leave university with just a degree and not much else. “Getting practical experience not only gives you lots of skills, it gives you valuable connections in the industry and can give you plenty of things to talk about in interviews that allow you to stand out from the other applicants, so you can be the one getting the job offer.”
If you’re looking for an internship…
Brazier offered some helpful tips for students looking for work experience. She said: “This year’s cohort of graduate workers are entering the jobs market at an incredibly difficult time, but we are starting to see green shoots as businesses look to make hires – particularly in industries like IT, Education and Logistics. “Many universities have amazing post-graduation career support schemes in place and many businesses are offering virtual internships or training sessions over the summer. “Milkround is here to support both employers and students and will continue to work closely with employers to promote open vacancies, ensuring students and graduates are aware of their current career options.”
The company I interned for: https://www.delta-net.com/
I did an interview with the University of Leicester which covers my journey from A levels to working as a trainee reporter