We’re delighted to share our third blog as part of our spotlight on the Employ.ed on Campus internship programme from Georgia Danes. Georgia was the Student Employment Research Intern at the Careers Service over the summer.
Hi Georgia, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you found out about the Employ.ed on Campus programme?
I am a fourth year Philosophy and Psychology student. I had already prioritised spending my third year summer break doing an internship, so had been looking since October 2022. Sifting through my emails, I came across internship job advertisements for Employ.ed on Campus and decided to check out what roles they were offering. With a huge variety of different internships available, I decided to apply for a few I thought would interest me. The overall process was relatively straightforward, with MyCareerHub being really easy to navigate and use.
What prompted you to apply for an Employ.ed on Campus internship and what were you hoping to gain from this experience?
Having worked in retail for five years, I have a good sense of what it is like to work in that field. I also knew that this field was not for me, and after graduating, I would want to do something quite different. Now, in my penultimate year of my degree, I wanted to get some work experience in a field more related to my studies, to help apply what I had learnt so far in a professional setting. For me, with goals to go into Occupational Psychology, I wanted work experience in research and using my data analysis skills.
The Employ.ed on Campus internship was a a great opportunity to gain this work experience before moving into my fourth year. It also gave me the chance to stay in Edinburgh over the summer to do paid professional work relevant to what I wanted to do. I had been offered a research internship at Oxford over the same summer, but ultimately was swayed to choose Employ.ed on Campus instead as I felt I would be more supported here, which is what I valued for my first professional work experience.
Tell us a bit about your internship role.
I was the ‘Student Employment Research Intern’, working within the Careers Service to research the motivations, benefits, and detriments of working whilst studying for undergraduate students at the University. This was a brilliant opportunity for me as I was really hoping to use and expand my research skills from Psychology. I was given the project brief and had freedom over how I was going to conduct the research, being encouraged immediately to develop my project management skills. I got to create and distribute a survey, lead a focus group, hold interviews with University of Edinburgh staff and employers, liaise with other Russell Group universities, and create a literature review.
I had my own desk at the Careers Service office on central campus, but also had the choice to work from home on days I wanted to. This hybrid working style offered great flexibility and was something I really appreciated; being able to organise my working week around where I felt I worked best for different parts of the project. I even got to go back home for a week and work remotely there.
On reflection, what have you gained from this experience?
Whilst doing my internship, I also took part in the Edinburgh Award, whereby you choose three skills you would like to focus on developing over the course of your work experience. Doing this gave me a great opportunity to reflect on how far I had come, and what achievements I had gained, throughout my internship.
The skills I focused on were decision making, oral communication, and harnessing opportunities. My internship gave me ample opportunity to develop these skills, and my confidence in these abilities has definitely improved. For example, with oral communication, before starting my internship I often felt flustered when talking in large groups, forgetting what I wanted to say or not feeling brave enough to speak out. In my internship, I got to take part in team meetings, 1-1 meetings, phone interviews, give presentations, and even had to moderate my own focus group (for the first time ever!). This meant I was given a lot of experience to communicate orally, through different approaches to see what helped my confidence. I learnt that by just writing notes down and bringing them with me, I felt a lot more confident to speak out, which is something I can take forward with me into my final year, participating more in tutorials and seminars, and into my future career as well.
What you would say to a student who is considering applying for an Employ.ed on Campus internship in 2024?
- Definitely just apply to any that you feel you might find interesting! There are so many different types of internships, so taking some time to look through all the listings and considering what appeals to you is the best way to start.
- Reflect on what skills you have gained from your degree and how these can apply to the internship you’re interested in.
- Highlight how your studies have helped to develop the skills necessary for the role will help your application to stand out. For example, I applied for a research internship, so talked about doing data analysis as part of my psychology degree, and the opportunities I had in conducting research already.
Looking ahead, what’s next Georgia, now that you’ve completed your internship?
I’m still not 100% certain of what I want to go into directly after university, but my internship has made me feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of a 9 to 5 role. Going into Occupational Psychology requires completing a masters, but I know now I would like to take a break from my studies and work for a bit before doing this, so I can feel completely sure it’s what I want to do.
I did my internship within the Careers Service, so was given a good opportunity to talk to Careers Service staff and get some helpful advice and support. I feel more inspired to think about my future career, and feel a lot more confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to put myself out there for different jobs.
If you’re looking for information about a particular career, you can get ideas and develop your understanding by exploring our sector information webpages. They are a great resource to discover:
- How to get started
- What’s it like
- How to build experience
- How to develop skills
- Where to find job vacancies
(Wordle image credit: WordArt.com)