Moving beyond the 'intern' brand

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Moving beyond the 'intern' brand

Post  Gcamp on Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:57 am

Hello!

After last weeks' "Injecting Capital into the Capital City Region" conference some of us got to thinking that there may be a better way of framing the "Adopt and Intern" programme's aims and the opportunities it can provide recent graduates. I hope this post starts the conversation about what that could be and why it may be best to look for language beyond 'intern' or 'internship'.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with interning somewhere, but the word 'intern' can be a discouraging label. No longer does it imply hands-on experience and partnership. Our generation will likely switch careers about a dozen times before we retire! But this has not always been the case. Not too long ago one would intern at a company and then, more often than not, be employed there for the rest of his/her working life.

Over the course of this evolution towards a dynamic work landscape, the term 'internship' has become a brand that implies secondary or even inconsequential -- akin to a 'summer-job' or 'temporary-worker'.

But, this is not how interns view themselves nor indeed what CSPP sets out to do!

In other words, we need to acknowledge that this is not just an internship placement scheme, but a supportive programme that seeks to launch smart, young people into positions through networking and skills-development. In short, greater status needs to be given to both the applicants and the programme itself.

I feel as though the aim should be (I) something that promotes youth as a strength and (II) sees that an opportunity is defined as active participation, not simply being "adopted". Graduates today are ambitious, intelligent, and indeed are future leaders... they just need to be brought together with the relevant parties and given a little nudge in the right direction.

Anyway, here's what I came up with:

"Foot in the Door Programme"
Connecting graduates with opportunities.
Growing fresh talent for Scotland.

This is just a start! If Joy and Sascha feel like this is something that could be incorporated into the current language then I think we could use this forum to discuss ways to better position the programme, and in-turn (get it?) have employers be more prepared.

Please feel free to build upon this or suggest new directions we can take this! Very Happy

-Gregor

Gcamp
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Re: Moving beyond the 'intern' brand

Post  Sascha@CSPP on Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:01 am

It's great that you have been thinking about the programme and how to better communicate what it is all about.

I think you are spot on in identifying what the Adopt an Intern programme would like to achieve, which is not just providing 'some opportunity', but really giving gradauates the chance to make vital contacts and connections.

I find your perspective on the 'adopt an intern' label intriguing and can understand why you interpret it to imply passiveness on part of the 'adopted intern'. This is something I had not thought of. However, the title of the programme targets potential employers - many of whom are hesitant to create their own internship scheme, because of the effort and time involved in advertisement and recruitment, this is where the Adopt an Intern programme comes in and offers to take away the burdens leaving only the benefits of having an intern.

I agree there is a lot of potential in expanding the programme to further include additional networking and skills-development opportunities for our interns. This is certainly something we are keen to explore and hear your ideas about.

There are a few things right now that I could use some fresh ideas for and would very much appreciate your feedback on:

1. One of the things that has been difficult to gauge is graduate interest in certain opportunities as it varies significantly. So far we are using the CSPP website, facebook and the universities' careers services to advertise the internship opportunities. How can we further increase our reach towards potential interns? Where would you look first to find internships?

2. A lot of the applicants see the specific internship they apply for in isolation and do not explore the programme further to look at other vacancies etc. How can we better communicate the programme as a whole?

Do you or any of the others have any immediate ideas how to market the programme better to students, raise awareness and increase engagement?

Sascha@CSPP
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Re: Moving beyond the 'intern' brand

Post  Robbie on Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:56 am

The intern label can have both positive and negative connotations depending on how you wish to use it. If you plan on entering the industry you've interned with, then it could imply you have more experience in a variety of roles as interns tend to be given various odd jobs. It could also demonstrate willingness to work in that area, especially if your potential employers think it was voluntary.

However, as Gregor mentioned, people tend to switch careers, so the the "intern" lable and its temporary nature could be less beneficial. What I mentioned above could then not be viewed as favourably as you'd then have experience with various different jobs in one particular industry, but less long term experience in one role (which, in my experience, tends to be necessary for a lot of jobs).

Now, this is just one example of one type of internship (I don't know how common it is for interns to be given a variety of jobs, or just shoved into one role). The point is, it depends on what the intern is trying to get out of the itnernship. Therefore I don't think it would be too beneficial for CSPP to rebrand the whole programme. If you're looking to rebrand your own internship for the sake of your CV, it would probably be worthwhile discussing that with whoever your internship is with - which I may do!

As for Sascha's requests - is there a problem reaching out to graduates? Such as a lack of interest? Other than the uni careers services you could plaster up a few posters around campus. Other than that, it should be up to graduates to seek out internships. Unless you're really struggling for interest, that is..

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