Internships


Definition

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. (National Association of Colleges and Employers, USA)

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Benefits of internships

  • Consolidate and enhance academic learning
  • Help you develop transferable skills such as teamwork and leadership
  • Enable you to learn more about a particular field/job/employer
  • Build knowledge and experience of the world of work
  • Provide experience for inclusion in CV and job applications
  • Give you a chance to find out what kind of work you like and don't like
  • Build a network of contacts
  • Build character, maturity and confidence
     
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What makes a good placement?

Your internship or voluntary work experience should provide you with course- or career-related duties and tasks that are at, or slightly above, your skill level. Ideally, there will be a structured programme, with committed resources and an assigned supervisor or mentor. When considering a placement, check out:

  • What knowledge and skills can I expect to learn?
  • What responsibilities will I have?
  • Who will supervise and evaluate my work and how will they do this?
  • Who will set my schedule?
  • What training and support will I have?
  • For paid internships, you may need to negotiate your salary. For advice, contact Career Development and Employment Services.

Make sure you have a copy of a job description for your role and a signed contract (recommended for voluntary work experience but required for internships).

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How to make the most of your internship

Maximise your learning from the experience by:

  • Seeking opportunities to get involved and learn
  • Talking to colleagues about their roles and experience
  • Maintaining a 'placement diary' and recording what you're doing and learning.

When the placement ends, ask your manager or supervisor to act as a referee for your future job applications. Make a note of their contact details.
It is important to spend some time reflecting on how the placement went - what did you learn, how has this affected your career plans.  

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How to find internship opportunities

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