“Both interns had a real passion for what we were doing and subsequently felt that passion transferred into their own projects.”
Please outline the project your intern(s) worked on during their Pathways internship. How did the work they produced, benefit your organisation and/or the local community?
We had two interns who both joined me online to discuss our current Covid response activities and to talk about possible other projects. Both interns had been recruited for their experience in delivering projects but also their understanding of our organisation and the ambitions that they talked about during their interview. One intern worked with a current collaborator on a community engagement project as well as thinking about a new youth programme (based on her previous experience), while the other worked with our marketing manager to promote a patchwork project while creating a digital engagement project that looked at building on our Repair Room that had folded due to the restrictions. The two existing projects received valuable assistance and were able to expand their reach, while the new projects developed were developed and in one case implemented with a legacy that ran until October and the other was developed further after she left and has since been funded and started this month. Both interns had a real passion for what we were doing and subsequently felt that passion transferred into their own projects. The #FixItFridays had some good engagement and were a good way of demonstrating an additional service to what we would usually look to deliver. The youth project work was really valuable and we were able to draw on some excellent experiences for her hometown. We have now set up the Bodmin Youth Board, which met for the first time in October and will hopefully go on to be a key project for our organisation.
What tips and advice do you have for making the most out of a remote working internship?
Remote working isn’t always easy, particularly when you don’t know the people or company you’re working with. Therefore, to make the most of the opportunity, you need to make sure you ask for the things you need – be that information, introductions, support or advice. A short internship like this could be some additional capacity to current staff, in which case, make sure you fully understand what is being asked at the beginning, so you can get on with your tasks and not take up too much time from that limited capacity. You may also need to use your initiative, which while something I’d always encourage, I’d recommend making that clear at the outset – is it ok or should I get the ok at every turn. On the other hand, you may be asked to take the lead on an idea or task – you’ll have been chosen for this role because you demonstrated that ability in your interview – therefore, always take the initiative. Once you’re clear on the parameters and objectives, its up to you to fulfil that role. Remember, you might only be with this employer for 35hrs but if you make a good impression, they might ask you back, or offer you a reference. So the short answer is, make sure you know the role and what is expected of you and ask all the questions you need to. Then work hard, be creative and enjoy the experience.
Why would you recommend Professional Pathways to other employers?
It is easy to think that a short internship like these might end up taking more time than it’s worth and that you’ll end up using the capacity you’re trying to save in supporting a new role. This wasn’t my experience and by creating a job description, then conducting interviews, I was confident that the interns I had recruited were capable of running with the tasks given. Both interns we had came with new ideas, a youthful perspective and were perfectly competent. As with many things, you get out what you put in, so if you advertise for a marketing assistant and they spend their whole time proofreading copy, then that won’t be as fulfilling for them and probably for you – if however, you use the opportunity for them to create and plan out an audience engagement campaign that attracts a new youth audience, and give them the resources they need, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.