Internships – one PPLS student’s journey from scared to confident via a Saltire Foundation internship ……

saltire…..and more! Below you’ll find an account of the great experience one LEL grad had with her internship – and explore the links at the end of the post for more on all our internship information from your Careers Service.

 

‘Hello everyone! I’m currently in my fourth year of an LEL course, and over the summer I took part in the Saltire Foundation scholarship programme for young business leaders in Scotland. This involved a selection process which starts in October (for more details take a look at www.saltirefoundation.com) and, once accepted, gives you the opportunity to apply for a wide range of internships with industry-leading companies all over the world. I was interning as Operations Assistant with online property portal Lettingweb in Edinburgh.

I would like to start by telling you that before I began my internship this summer, I didn’t know what the next few months would bring – and that really scared me. I will come back to the significance of this later in this blog.

This time 5 months ago, I was preparing for two things; end of year exams for my Linguistics and English Language degree at Edinburgh University, and an interview for an internship with Lettingweb. For the exams, it was a case of revising things which I had already learned about, so I felt reasonably comfortable with this. However, for the interview I needed to work on a few new skills before I was even accepted as an intern. Each candidate had been asked to prepare a presentation on a recognisable brand and how it represents them as an individual; for me this was a really daunting task, as although I’m quite happy to present about brands, businesses and university projects, when it comes to talking about myself I have no idea what to say – so this was a substantial challenge and one I had to overcome in the early stages of the Saltire scholarship programme.saltire foundation

After securing the internship with Lettingweb, the challenges kept coming; after a couple of weeks, the operations projects I’d been working on were well established and I was keen to do more for the company, so I spoke to our newly appointed MD Steven Sibbald to ask for more work.

As a result, over the past 4 months I have:

  • shortlisted and interviewed candidates for an IT internship position
  • joined the Head of Sales out on the road talking to customers
  • developed an internship programme for myself and the other interns to work on alongside our main roles
  • set up a charity account for the Lettingweb Foundation
  • taken an events management role for staff days out and share offering launch events
  • assisted with the Customer Services department taking calls from letting agents
  • project managed the initial stages of Lettingweb’s share offering to letting agent customers

It was absolutely incredible experience and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to learn about so many aspects of an ambitious online business.

Beyond the internship, I feel I now have a new found confidence in myself to take on much bigger challenges. I have always had a keen interest in charity and fundraising; in the past I have done cake sales, a half marathon and an ultramarathon. However, after attending an inspirational leadership workshop this summer from explorer and broadcaster Mark Beaumont (who had a Saltire Foundation scholarship 9 years ago), I want to do more.

As a result, I have signed up for what will undoubtedly be my biggest challenge yet: to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

I will be taking on this challenge in October 2015 to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. This is a charity close to my heart, as my aunt has MS. So far my fundraising plans include a jazz night, ceilidh, bring&buys and plenty of ideas for corporate sponsorship too. For training, I have recently walked Ingleborough and Whernside in the Yorkshire dales and plan on making the seven hills of Edinburgh a regular route, as well as completing St Cuthbert’s Way, the Highland Way and Ben Nevis to name just a few.

To help raise awareness of what I’ve been doing, I have started a blog (www.alicesascent.com) which I will be keeping up to date over the next year if you’d like to follow my journey. If you have any suggestions for training and fundraising too I’d love to hear them!

I don’t think I would have done any of this without the push that the Saltire Foundation scholarship and the Lettingweb internship have given me to be more independent and reach out for new opportunities, whether that’s within or outwith a job.

At the start of this blog I told you that prior to my internship I was scared of not knowing what the next couple of months would bring. Now, I don’t know what the next few years will bring – but that doesn’t scare me anymore. It excites me. I have the Saltire Foundation to thank for that change in mind-set, so I urge every student – regardless of your degree or working background – to look for opportunities like the Saltire Foundation and help build a positive future for you, both in the immediate future and beyond university.’

You’ve read about one person’s experience – now it’s time to find your own! The Careers Service has a range of resources to help you find the internship or work experience you’re looking for. Check out the resources below:

Make the most of your vacations and opportunities whist at university, and make your own journey from unsure to confident about your future.

 

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