How internships can enable an entrepreneurial mind-set

In the first of this week’s #EdEnterprise17 posts, we are delighted to share this guest blog post from Anna McBurney, Saltire Scholar Programme Executive, Entrepreneurial Scotland.

After months of studying, stressful exams and project hand-ins, the thought of spending your summer undertaking an internship will likely be the last thing on your mind. As tempting as it may be to take a breather before yet another academic year commences, an internship could be the golden opportunity that will shape your future career.

Internships are an ideal way to develop and gain new skills in a commercial environment, be exposed to industry professionals and prepare you for the reality of life post-university. It can be really tough as a graduate to secure employment, which is why an ability to demonstrate you’ve gained relevant experience during university can significantly boost your chances of gaining a job befitting of your skills.

We hear more and more from employers that they struggle to find talent who have the necessary skills and attributes that are needed in today’s ever increasingly global workforce. A quality that they’re particularly looking for is an entrepreneurial mind-set; someone who has a set of behaviours such as an ability to see and do things differently, a passion for innovation and a confidence to challenge the status quo. Employers view this as an essential quality as a person with an entrepreneurial mind-set can much better approach challenges and navigate their way to finding solutions. Everyone, regardless of their degree discipline or vocation, has the potential to have an entrepreneurial mind-set.

At the Saltire Scholar Internship Programme, we aim to find, fuel and spark the next generation of leaders for Scotland. The programme was founded 10 years ago with the purpose of creating opportunities for young people that would equip them with the skills and experience; unlocking their leadership potential and enabling an entrepreneurial and global mind-set. We do this through offering fully-funded summer internships to penultimate year undergraduate students from all of Scotland’s universities.

We partner with organisations from all sectors and industries, ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups, straight through to well-established Fortune 100 companies. 70% of our internships are outside of Scotland, giving students the opportunity to experience working in a new culture and country.

In 2017, we celebrated our largest ever cohort of 165 Saltire Scholars who interned in 56 locations across the world.  University of Edinburgh law student Rebecca Gray, was a 2017 Saltire Scholar in Hong Kong said:

“Due to my internship, my confidence has grown, my business knowledge has expanded and I have been able to experience the global marketplace for the first time. I have come home so determined to continue the personal growth I encountered during the internship and am working harder than ever, spurred on by my incredible experience.”

A director of Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston, USA and line manager of a Saltire Scholar said:

“The workforce is increasingly global, no matter if you’re working at a Fortune 100 company or a small start-up. Having international work experience at a relatively young age, sets job applicants apart from their competition. What students study in University may not be exactly what they end up doing professionally so they must be flexible and adaptable, and willing to continue to learn.”

Regardless of what you study and what your career aspirations are, having that real-life experience an internship provides will equip you with the skills and qualities employers are looking for. Your Careers Service is a good place to start to find out about all the opportunities that you could apply to.

Applications for the 2018 Saltire Scholar Internship Programme close at 1pm on 14th November. More information can be found at:













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