The first response from other first year students is ‘why would you want to that?’. Two years down the line, these are the people are complaining when they are madly searching for a job – Which is normally followed by ‘I wish I’d done more when I was a first year’
Securing work experience in your first year is not easy, because so many internships are tailored to students in their penultimate year. However, there are many ways to develop skills, whether it is through shadowing, a spring insight week, or internships like the one I have undertaken or Career Network’s Global challenge internships that don’t discriminate on the year of your degree. These are open to everybody, even first years!
The most important thing that I found when searching these opportunities is to put yourself out there and apply! They are a perfect way of gaining practice for future job and internship applications. It helps you to think about your skills by getting interview practice and, in some cases, learning how to deal with rejection.
I’m currently undertaking an internship at Barnardos’ service provider in Doncaster. I am working with the Young Carers service, as an intern, as part of their ‘Young Carers’ card’ project; involving negotiations for concessionary discounts with local, regional and national businesses for young carers. In most cases young carers do not get as many opportunities for respite as adult carers, and even when they do, they may not be able to afford it. Banardos intends to provide these young carers with a card that ensures these discounts to offer affordable respite for them.
I have been responsible for researching and meeting with businesses. This has increased my commercial awareness, developed my interpersonal skills and enhanced my relationship management skills. I have been solely responsible for the negotiation of concession discounts. The internship has helped me to develop my own time management skills.
I am based in an office environment, working in a small team of people from a variety of backgrounds. The internship has taught me to appreciate my personal strengths and weaknesses to ensure that the Doncaster Young Carers’ Card project is a success.
Working in a charity has given me insight into the third sector, and has helped me think about what sort of career I may want to pursue. This will be important to know where to focus my searches over the next three years of my degree.