Win-win internships

With applications for 2013 Leeds Internship programme in full swing, Jenny, our graduate intern, has been speaking to students, graduates and employers who participated in the programme last year, discovering there are many benefits for all parties.

With nearly 60% of graduate employers warning that applicants with no work experience have little or no chance of receiving a job offer*, it is not enough to simply have a hard-earned degree to get those coveted careers any more.  But how beneficial is work experience to students apart from bulking up their CVs? To learn more about the benefits of this vital CV booster I have been talking to employers and students who have been involved in the Leeds Internship Programme.

The Leeds Internship Programme is a programme we run here from the Careers Centre offering exclusive internships to University of Leeds students and graduates. These internships are local opportunities with big and small companies, charities and positions around the University.  And probably most importantly they are paid.

So I knew before I met these interns that they are at least happy to be paid for their hard work. But how else had they benefitted from their placement? Was it more than photocopying and tea-making?

It would appear so; here are a few common benefits that I learnt about…

  • Confidence was something that all the interns said they had gained from their experience, especially about their own ability and achievements.
  • All of them could list new skills there had acquired that they wouldn’t have gained without an internship. This included specific skills they would need to enter a particular profession as well as essential transferable skills.
  • Whilst I was not surprised to have learnt that the interns had gained valuable skills to add to their CVs, I was surprised about how passionate they were about the organisation they worked for and how proud they were of their accomplishments whilst in their position.

As well as speaking to students who had undertaken an internship through the programme, I also spoke to their supervisors. This was a great perspective to gain learning if the organisation had benefited from having an intern.

And I was delighted to see that they had…

  • Almost all of them said that they benefited from a fresh perspective. This enabled some of the organisations to approach problems differently especially when communicating to students.
  • An extra pair of hands is an obvious benefit to an employer when taking on an intern, but I learnt that this often meant that they could carry out a project they wouldn’t have been able to without an intern.
  • It was also nice to hear that companies enjoyed and learnt from their intern. All of them said that it was a great experience and they had learnt to teach someone with little or no experience of their business.

I think there is often a view that an intern is recruited to do boring or trivial work that would not challenge or reward them. But from my recent questioning of those students and employers who have been involved with Leeds Internship Programme it seems that their experiences are extremely positive and beneficial to both sides.

We are currently advertising 2013 Leeds Internship Programme undergraduate opportunities (for 1st, 2nd, and penultimate year students) on our vacancy system and will start advertising graduate opportunities  soon.  To view vacancies, or register for updates, select ‘Advanced Search’ in the vacancy system and then select ‘Leeds Internship Programme’ under Vacancy Tags. You can also stay up to date with opportunities through Twitter using #LeedsIntern.

For additional information and ideas about gaining work experience, see our website and come and talk to us

*Highfliers ‘Graduate Market in 2013‘, an annual survey of the Times Top 100 Graduate Recruiters


Filed under Work Experience

3 responses to “Win-win internships

  1. Wonderful to hear about the value of internships, their availability at the university, and most importantly that they are fairly paid! #thedevilpaysnada #payyourinterns

  2. Pingback: Is it worth really going to university? | Charee MagazineCharee Magazine

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