In the run up to the opening of the 2021 Employ.ed internship programme (for current 2nd, 3rd and penultimate year undergraduate students), we have asked a couple of previous interns to share their experiences in an Insights mini-series. This post is by Fraser.
How did you find out about the Employ.ed internship scheme? And what made you apply for it?
I found out about the Employ.ed internship scheme in the summer of my second year at university. I came across it when I was looking into the various internships I could apply to in third year on MyCareerHub. It seemed a great opportunity – it offered the chance to gain skills, an Edinburgh Award and a salary. Not only that but it also seemed nice to get an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at university, which we do not get to see as ordinary students. So, I was sure to keep a look out for the new positions being advertised the next year, and I applied.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
There were two things I enjoyed most about the internship. Firstly, I had considerable autonomy. I was tasked with revising the existing Study Hub Blog content, proposing a posting schedule for the next year, and writing new content. I had a lot of say in all of this and in what I wanted to gain from the internship more broadly. This gave me the opportunity to think creatively. But I am also glad that this autonomy did not come at the expense of support – my line manager and the Taught Student Development Team at the Institute for Academic Development were very supportive, and they were easy to approach with new questions/ideas.
Secondly, at university, I have really enjoyed writing research papers. Reading existing literature, summarising it and then conducting data analysis are all things which I find interesting. The internship offered the opportunity to put this into practice in a new context. I researched study skills strategies and student life issues extensively, summarised the literature’s findings on them and conducted an analysis of the Study Hub Blog, Study Hub Learning Resources and Study Hub Twitter data.
What was most challenging about your internship?
The most challenging part of the internship was learning how to write for a new audience. I had become used to writing in a very formal, academic way during my degree. Trying to adjust to writing for a student audience was difficult at first. And I had to think about the words I was using quite a lot. But learning to do this was useful: being able to adapt to your audience is an invaluable communication skill!
Looking back, what has stayed with you from your internship?
The thing that has stayed with me most is how many opportunities there were. I enjoyed doing the things that my remit covered, but I was also allowed to go beyond this. For example, I got to attend various events at the Learning and Teaching Conference and help with the construction of a persona of a commuting student for the university’s discussions on preparation for hybrid learning. Additionally, the development of my confidence has stuck with me. I had the chance to do three presentations during the internship to develop this skill. The first was to many people at the IAD I had not even met before!
What advice would you give anyone thinking of applying for an Employ.ed internship?
Do it! There are a range of internships on offer – there is bound to be something you would enjoy. The internships are not just about the work you do, though – they give you room to reflect on your skills and how you can develop these over the course of your scheme. So, you can grow as both a worker and a person!
Fraser is a student of Economics and Politics at Edinburgh University. He is in the final year of his degree. He commutes to university from Kirkcaldy, Fife. In his free time, he enjoys walking, cycling, playing badminton, debating and playing bagpipes.
2021 summer internships are planned to be advertised between 8th and the 28th February 2021. All internships will be advertised on the Universities new student portal, where you can complete an application and upload your CV. There will be an online session with a Careers Consultant to support you with your application (date and time to be confirmed). For more information, please see Employ.ed on Campus.