The best thing about interning is the opportunity to learn from professionals

by Declan Shepherd

Learning, for me, is not about the qualification or certificate achieved but the skills and experiences I gain along the way.

In an effort to support employment success, De Montfort University’s Graduate Champion scheme provides a six-week internship to implement the skills and knowledge gained from a degree in the real working world. The scheme is an opportunity to enhance the CV and showcase the talents on offer in a competitive job market.

I applied, and my skill-set matched the Campaigns and Communications role on offer at Learning and Work Institute. It was a chance for me to prove I can employ what I had learnt from my years at university and to learn new techniques from an alternative industry and sector outside of my comfort zone.

My confidence in my ability has grown the most throughout my time at Learning and Work Institute. I can contribute with assertion in meetings and ideas that we can carry out rather than holding back and being unsure whether to speak up. I also have more confidence in my ability to execute my ideas and to work independently. In a field that addresses mass audiences, it’s important to seek feedback on content from peers, and it’s a great way to learn and adapt, but now they are technical amendments rather than wholesale changes.

I have also developed my copy writing skills learnt in university and applied them to real-world situations. Producing a press release for Festival of Learning, adapting text into news stories and email content, as well as blog and social media posts for a mass audience with a reputation to uphold carries more pressure than a classroom environment and the internship proved a great learning experience for this.

Arguably, the best thing about interning is the opportunity to learn from professionals who are successful in the career I want to emulate. While it’s difficult to match my style to suit theirs in such a short period of time, the comments and feedback are invaluable in my learning experience. There’s more than just a tutor in a workplace environment and the blend of ideas is perfect to learn from. It’s also a chance to network, meet new people and grow my contact base.

I’ve been able to respond to different challenges and find suitable solutions. As a charity, resources are limited and efficiency is paramount; ideas must be executed with minimal cost, thoroughly researched and alternatives considered. These challenges can only be faced outside of university and in the real world.

Learning and Work Institute have also benefited from the scheme. As a recent graduate, I contribute fresh ideas and can draw on previous experiences to enhance the content already produced. I have also brought a new skill-set in producing graphics and visual content. Previously outsourced, I have given them more control over the end product, increased time efficiency and kept the work in-house.

The internship has been invaluable to my progression both personally and professionally. I offer my thanks to De Montfort University for providing the scheme and to Learning and Work Institute for the experience and learning opportunity.