An Introduction to Internships

When it comes to kickstarting your career, it’s no surprise that there are many different options available to you and it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start.  It is entirely up to you how you start your professional career is, but it’s important to make sure you’re aware of all the options available to you.


Internships in particular can be a great way of sampling a career before settling on it, giving you some invaluable work experience as you forge your own path.

So, here is our guide to internships, including the benefits of them and how they differ from other types of early career paths.

What is an internship?

An internship is a type of work experience that lasts for a fixed amount of time. They can vary in structure , with some allowing you to shadow staff while others mean that you can be much more hands on and work on deliverable projects.

It’s a great opportunity to get to know a company or industry better while gaining new experience in a role you’re interested in pursuing. Every internship can differ in its responsibilities and tasks, and you should make sure you read through any contracts or terms before signing.

The benefits of internships

Not only does an internship prepare you for the world of professional working, but it can also offer a whole host of other benefits to give your career a great start. For one, you will increase your knowledge and expand your skills in a particular job or industry. This in itself can be a huge step towards gaining real world experience.

Beyond this, an internship could open your eyes to other opportunities that you may not have been previously aware of. For example, roles and responsibilities in other areas of the company that pique your interest. You will also have the chance to network with people in your preferred industry, meaning you can create some valuable connections as you move forward in your professional career.

Doing an internship will mean that you gain great insights into how a company operates commercially, how the teams are structured and what challenges they might face as they carry out their work .

Apprenticeship vs. internship

Both apprenticeships and internships are great ways of gaining valuable experience in a your chosen  field. In both cases, it will involve working with  a mentor of some kind who will guide you through and ensure you are hitting the objectives of your project/work. .

However, apprentices will usually  go into full-time employment once they complete their apprenticeship,  with the company they were an apprentice for. With internships, there is often the potential to be offered a graduate role once you finish your studies, which is a great benefit and will put you one step ahead.

Apprenticeships are always paid for their time working as well as studying, although this amount can vary between roles and industries. In some cases, interns aren’t always paid but generally if they are over 2 weeks then there will be renumeration. .

There are some roles  that are secured more straightforwardly with an apprenticeship, and they are often seen as an alternative to further education.  common apprenticeship routes were often into  construction, plumbing and book-keeping. However, there are now apprenticeships in finance, technology, sales and many more.

Graduate programme vs internship

A graduate programme is a common  way of gaining an entry-level role within a company after graduating from university, while also providing training. They are designed to last -3 years on average, and you might rotate between various departments to get a full insight into the company or you might spend the time in one department learning the inner workings of that function. A graduate programme is typically a structured programme that focuses on your development through training and learning activities and is designed to help prepare the future generation of their employees.

An internship on the other hand is not a permanent role, but does offer the same valuable insights into a company. You may also rotate through different teams on your internship too, depending on how it is organised.

Skills you’ll acquire from an internship

An internship can be valuable in helping you acquire a number of skills that you’ll keep for the rest of your professional life. This can include:

Work experience

Above all else, getting experience in a real working environment is an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to build a professional career. This gives you the chance to see first-hand how roles are set out and how teams interact with each other in order to deliver services.

Role-specific experience

To take this a step further, an internship will help you gain experience that’s specific to a particular sector. This can help you to understand the nuances of the specific role and where its place is in the wider business, including who you’d be working alongside  and what type of tasks are expected.

Communication skills

You’ll learn how to communicate with other professionals and also how to better communicate with others in order to collaborate effectively. This can be an incredible soft skill that you can take with you anywhere.

Critical thinking

Being able to think critically  and rationalise your decisions in order to understand the connections between things is an important skill for any role, across any industry. An internship can expose you to the idea of making reasonable judgements based on the information you’re given.

Accountability

Being accountable for something can give you a great sense of responsibility and job satisfaction, a skill you will certainly learn when completing an internship. It’s a crucial skill to have when working with others, as it ensures that you are willing to accept your actions and decisions.

Time and workload management

Another imperative soft skill in the workplace, time and workload management is something you will pick up when doing an internship. If you are expected to complete tasks within a set time, or deal with multiple tasks and understand how to prioritise, you’ll have gained valuable insights in how to manage your day at work successfully.

Teamwork

Similar to communication, being able to work well with others and cooperate with those both in your department and others can be the key to an efficient workforce. Teamwork is often a huge part of projects both big and small, so learning how to work with others is a great benefit.

So, as you can see, internships can open the door to a world of opportunity and knowledge. If you’re interested in searching for a well-suited internship opportunity, take a look at our Early Careers and find out more today.

To find out more about careers at SEFE Marketing & Trading please visit our homepage.

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