My internship’s been cancelled – what can I do?

Carol Macdonald, Careers Consultant, shares some ideas on how you can make the most of the summer months ahead if your plans have been disrupted by Covid-19.

As well as being a time to relax and ‘recharge your batteries’, the summer vacation is traditionally a time to try things out, gain new experience, develop skills … and progress your career thinking. Despite the limitations of the current situation, you can still achieve many of your personal objectives if you look at things in a slightly different way.

Viewing the months ahead as an opportunity to build a “portfolio” of experiences, will allow you to think more creatively. Dipping into a range of different activities can be both enjoyable and personally rewarding … and allow you to demonstrate your adaptability, motivation and resilience to future employers

So, let’s have a look at some options:

Virtual Internships

A selection of virtual work experience programmes, endorsed by leading companies, is now available through InsideSherpa. These offer a great opportunity to gain insights into diverse career pathways such as venture capital, investment banking, law, management consulting & more.

The companies taking part are keen to let you understand the work that they do and the opportunities that they offer. You will be given resources and tasks which are based on real scenarios and designed to replicate the work which you would do in a real internship.

The amount of time required will vary but typically a project will only take around 4-6 hours to complete, and you can do this in your own time. Once you complete and upload your project, you will unlock real work samples to show you how a graduate at that company would have approached each task.

There is no application process involved, you just need to register online!  Find out more via our Get experience webpage.

Some students’ views:

  • “Really helped me to improve my skills in data analytics.” (KPMG, Data Analytics)
  • “This was a really impressive Very clear instructions and well thought out. It has certainly helped develop the skills necessary to be a junior lawyer.” (Linklaters, Commercial Law)
  • “An enjoyable programme, that has only further reinforced my interest in BCG.” (BCG, Strategy Consulting)

Online Challenge Programme

Students as Change Agents Online (SaCHA) is an exciting four-week University of Edinburgh challenge-based programme which will run from 8 June to 2 July 2020. This provides an opportunity to work alongside students from different disciplines and all levels to tackle real-world problems set by external experts, using online discussion tools such as Microsoft Teams.

The challenges, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Covid-19 pandemic, will be:

  1. How might Edinburgh create an environmentally sustainable future in the revival of its tourism industry and festivals post-COVID-19?
  2.  How can Scotland change to reduce youth homelessness?

Read more about the SaCHA programme here.

Applications for places are required by Tuesday 2nd June 2020 – so don’t delay!

Online Courses

Online learning offers a fantastic opportunity to gain skills and knowledge which will help you in the future.

In our recent Keep learning blog post, which highlights a range of platforms and options for you to consider, my colleague Susan Bird commented:

“Employers will recognise the knowledge, skills and personal attributes you are developing by studying on online courses. Think how they might link to the requirements of roles or sectors you are interested in ...

If you are unsure about your future career direction, you may opt to focus on personal skills development by accessing courses such as leadership, decision making and working in remote teams. Alternatively, you may wish to develop skills which are in high demand, such as coding, data analysis or confident use of Excel.

As a University of Edinburgh student, you can access LinkedIn Leaning which provides online courses in business, creative and technical skills.

Volunteering / Short-term jobs

Although the number of summer jobs available is currently relatively low, there are still opportunities around. A scan through MyCareerHub and other vacancy sites will let you see what’s available at present – see our looking for work pages. Our recent article Earn money working from home may also provide some helpful ideas.

Volunteering to help in your local community can provide a rewarding experience; as well as showing your flexibility, organisation and communication skills. You can find information and useful links on our Volunteering pages.

Where opportunities are not online roles, please consider your safety and social distancing measures. If lockdown measures ease further through the months ahead, we can expect to see the number and range of opportunities increase.

The Edinburgh Award – make the most of what you do

This summer we will be running the Edinburgh Award (Work and Volunteering Experience) which has been designed to take account of the experience ‘portfolios’ many of you will develop this year. Applications open on 28 May 2020. You can see details of this award scheme, including eligibility, on our website.

Exploring your career options / developing your future plans  

As well as building experience and skills, it is also useful to think about your future. You‘ll find lots of useful information to get you started on the Careers Service website.  You may find it helpful to start by looking at the specific information for your academic school.

If you would like to make contact with people who have experience in the field which interests you, many of our alumni are open to providing insights into their roles. Platform One, the University’s online meeting place for students, alumni, staff and volunteers; will provide a good starting point if you are interested in making contacts. You will find helpful advice on informational interviews on our website. Please be sensitive to the pressures people may be facing at this time.

The Careers Service will be here to support you throughout the summer and in the future. We are currently offering an online service which includes 1:1 support (via Teams or Skype) and careers events.  If you would like to discuss your future career pans, you are welcome to book an online appointment with a careers consultant.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope that you have as enjoyable and rewarding a summer as possible.

(Image by Candace Hunter from Pixabay)

(Image by Candace Hunter from Pixabay)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *