Any careers advice will tell you should leave education with experience, not just good grades. But all too often, internships don’t live up to their expectations. The National Trust was the latest to be criticised for using unpaid interns to perform menial jobs, with the media highlighting how unfair this was for the interns. It was a missed opportunity for the charity too, though, because they failed to make the most of their interns’ full potential. Fortunately, my internship with Tassic couldn’t have been more of a contrast. In my eyes, there were three main things that contributed to its success…

From mastering the art of writing a meeting summary to gaining an insight into HR practices, it’s prepared me for working life in ways I never expected.

Clear expectations

From day one I knew I wasn’t going to be doing tea-runs and filing because my role as an intern was clearly defined. I was given responsibility for particular projects which meant I could see exactly where I’d be able to contribute and I could take pride in the work I completed. The huge range of initiatives the consultancy delivers and the diverse nature of its clients meant I was also able to develop my skills in many different areas. I was also told in advance what the internship would involve. This sounds like a minor detail but it was really helpful because it meant I was able to prepare and could get off to a confident start.

Valued as an equal member of the team

The team took time out of their week to get to know me and explain the company ethos, approach and values. Previously, I’ve found companies tend to rush through this because an intern will only be with the company for a short time but I saw how important it is to invest time on introductions. It meant I quickly developed a sense of loyalty to Tassic so I was naturally more productive and motivated throughout the whole internship.
What’s more, my suggestions were always listened to. For me, this is one of the major ways that companies fail to make the most out of the experience. An intern should be able to offer new ideas because they have a very different perspective to that of the rest of the team.

A focus on my personal progression

What surprised me the most was how much time Rashila, director of Tassic, spent ensuring my personal development. In truth, I felt awkward about this at first. I was being paid to learn despite feeling I didn’t have much to offer in return and I just couldn’t get my head around it. I soon began to see that this approach didn’t only benefit me, though. It further increased my sense of loyalty and motivation. And of course, the more I learnt, the more I was able to contribute to Tassic.

Fin

Leaving the university bubble and entering the working world is a daunting prospect for a twenty something of little experience but my internship with Tassic went better than I could ever have hoped for. From mastering the art of writing a meeting summary to gaining an insight into HR practices, it’s prepared me for working life in ways I never expected. And I hope I’ve been a help to Tassic too!

HR assistant in London