Why are internships useful for students?

When I was coming to the end of my first year of studying Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield I was faced with the choice of what to do with my summer, and if I had learnt anything from my time there it was that experience in the work place is invaluable.

However, as a young person internships had never quite sat comfortably with me. Whilst there are the good ones out there, often they are thought of as a way of getting students to do a company’s ‘dirty work’, such as being laden with tedious tasks, or a financial burden. Knowing that filling my CV was my main priority, I looked into internships online. As a long-time supporter of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, I felt more hopeful when I saw that they were advertising for a PR and Communications Intern, and so I applied with the knowledge that at very least I would get two months working with a nice group of people for a great cause.

The internship went above and beyond my expectations. After my phone interview alone I knew that my previous thoughts about interning wouldn’t be reflected through Rainbow Trust. The flexible working days and hours that Ashley explained to me worked well as a student, meaning that I could dedicate my time to other jobs, writing and catching up with friends and family from home.

From the first day in the office, I was trusted with writing major press releases, including the announcement of Hugo Taylor as the charity’s ambassador, the RideLondon case study and the Colour5K post event release. I learned the ins and outs of the systems that Rainbow Trust use, including the media database Vocus and logging my hours on ThankQ. I attended photo calls in the rain, worked independently on researching and applying to the Christmas appeals and looked closely into the charity’s successful and potential press coverage.

I became a vital part of the team rather than being the allocated tea maker or traipsing through paperwork. When I gained more confidence, I no longer had to double-check my tasks such as contacting fundraisers such as the Great North Run participants, or whether my questions were suitable for the press release’s brief, but I could trust my own instincts and was supported by Ashley and the Marketing team in doing so.

Walking away from the internship, I am confident that I have gained skills which will help me throughout my time at University and in my future employment. Not only in terms of the new writing styles which I have developed but also when it comes to engaging with employees, fundraisers and the press in a professional environment. I witnessed how people in a team deal with problems and effectively communicate to overcome the struggles, how to organise my time efficiently through time management training, and how to promote myself and my internship through a LinkedIn workshop. I can’t thank Rainbow Trust enough for putting their trust in me and helping me get exactly what I needed out of my time as an intern there!