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Why internships are the new entry-level jobs

For many years, graduates across Europe obtained their first experience of work by taking an entry-level position and putting to good use all the theory they had learned in the classroom. The rise of paid internships, however, provide the best of both worlds – dovetailing a qualification with the chance to gain ‘real-world’ experience in your chosen career.

Furthermore, with competition for roles increasingly tough, having a glowing reference from the moment you hit the ‘jobs market’ will put you on the front foot. Given we’ve just welcomed our latest intern here at Agilité Solutions, we thought we’d take a closer look at why such initiatives matter.

Aintsoa Zafinjohany

What kind of internship should you get?

Aintsoa Zafinjohany is studying for a Masters Degree in marketing at Kedge Business School, and was eager to gain experience of working in an office environment and within a sector which wasn’t specifically linked to her chosen specialism – with a more marketing-focused role for her second position, later in the year.

“I was drawn to Agilité Solutions because the internship allowed me to spend time in an office, rather than working from home – which so many firms are asking their support staff to do in light of the pandemic,” Aintsoa explained. “Being able to gain genuine hands-on experience, and see the dynamics of a company headquarters, and how each function works together was important and has proven to be very enlightening.

“Although I have only been here for a few months, I’ve been very involved in administration and operational duties – including invoicing, office management, and project support. It’s so interesting and I am already looking forward to what’s to come.”

Why take an internship?

The beauty of internships is that it allows students to understand how companies operate – and develop some of the soft skills you need to be a part of a dynamic team.

Kirsty Shearer, our development director, explained: “I think it’s really important for employees to appreciate the different roles and functions within a business, particularly as their career progresses.

“Administration, for example, is such a fundamental element of any organisation as its integral to the ‘bigger picture’. Being involved in putting processes and procedures in place – and seeing that such tasks are far from easy – makes you much more appreciative of those functions throughout your working life.”

What should an intern do?

It can often be difficult to decide which tasks and products to pass to an intern – as you know they’re likely to return to full-time education after a set period. Yet, it’s important to ensure their experience is rich and prepares them for the world of work properly.

Kirsty continued: “Just because their employment is finite shouldn’t mean they aren’t trusted with a particular project or responsibility. It’s very important for me that there is a chance to meet the team, visit sites, and see with their own eyes how a business functions – be it a practical or political point of view. Without that, and the trust from an employer and colleagues, neither party can truly maximise the opportunity.”

When we asked what she hopes to get out of the rest of her time with us, Aintsoa concluded: “For me, I want to learn a lot about the company, project and office management, and how to deal with things when they don’t go according to plan. I already feel valued, and that is really important. I don’t want to feel like a temporary employee – being a part of the team is crucial.

“School can teach me the basics of my chosen subject, but without practice we are simply relying on a book to help us find a job once we complete our study.”

For more information on our internship programme, contact us.

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