Lauren is a third year BScEcon Criminology and Sociology student who recently carried out an internship at the Welsh Government. Read about why Lauren decided to carry out an internship and what she gained from the experience.
What made you decide to carry out an internship?
I felt that this opportunity would give me the vital work experience needed to compete in the graduate job market. I had expressed an interest to work in the department for benefits and pensions to the careers service last year, who advised me to gain some work experience in order to strengthen my CV so once I had graduated I would be in a better position to compete against other graduates. I felt that the internship within the Welsh Government would give me the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and the skills I would need to get a job after graduating.
What did your internship involve?
I conducted some exploratory work surrounding apprenticeship figures. This was mainly desk-based research and reviewing the Welsh Government figures which they supplied to me. I also got the opportunity to formally interview members of various teams within the department for education and skills and the statistics department. This involved me arranging meetings across different departments and locations i.e. booking rooms, arranging timings and inviting those needed for what would be discussed at that specific meeting.
Other roles included researching and writing reports. I produced a fact sheet of apprenticeship figures, assisted in the creation of a ‘question bank’ for the next satisfaction survey for work based learning and I started the research on a potential new chartered status for higher education in Wales which was to be continued by another member of staff once I had left.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
At first I found it challenging and very tiring to work a 37 hour week as I had never worked full time before. Once I got into a routine I found this became much easier and now I feel my academic studies are benefiting from this experience.
What did you find most rewarding about your internship?
I learnt valuable skills about working independently on your own project but also how working within a wider team can assist you in developing your ideas and improve the quality of your work. I feel this is a valuable skill which will be transferable into any industry.
What do you feel are the benefits of internships for SOCSI students?
I think that one of the key benefits of completing an internship is developing your ability to work full time. Many SOCSI courses have around 10 hours contact time a week, with the rest of your time available to decide when you do your work and how much you do. I feel that after working a 37 hour week working 9-5 everyday I have come back to my studies with more motivation to spend this time doing work and reading for university, something I didn’t do before. I feel I have got a lot more work done so far this year and I am hoping this will be reflected in my grades.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to learn about the working environment in more depth. Prior to my internship I had part time jobs as a waitress, hostess and care assistant but none of these were things I intend to do with my degree. By completing this internship I got to witness firsthand the type of environment I hope to end up in once graduating.
Finally, my internship was paid. This was useful as it meant I could stay in Cardiff over the summer to do it. It has also given me the opportunity to save money to fund my living costs for my final year. I am doing a dissertation so I thought it would be ideal if I could earn while gaining valuable experience over the summer so I didn’t need to work during the year. This has freed up a lot of my time and has also given me the chance to do some volunteer work alongside my studies which will also enhance my CV.
What are your plans for the future once you graduate?
I am currently not 100% sure what I would like to do when I have graduated. I am applying for a few things to keep my options open, these include training to become a probation officer, the HR fast stream within the Civil Service (as a result of my internship) and I am also in the process of applying for a masters in occupational therapy.