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Completing an internship over summer is a big and difficult decision for anyone to make. As an English Literature and Politics student, it was a struggle to decide whether to intern in the private or the public sector.
Traditionally, I am more inclined to prefer the public sector and so wanted to challenge myself over the summer; I found an internship in Human Resources, for the private company Atos. Using my overdraft, I rented a place in Reading so that I could complete the internship.
The first day was a bit of a blur. I was briefed on the company, met my Atos buddy (a graduate in HR), and Skyped my manager for the first time as he was based in Valencia. After my first day, I was introduced to my role in the Employee Engagement Team, and the tasks I was to be involved with. My role varied from the planning of WellBeing@Work week, an initiative aiming to highlight the importance of mental and physical health within the workplace, to organising of Palace to Palace, a charity bike ride to raise money for The Prince’s Trust.
I was given responsibility from the very start and was told I could completely re-design the monthly HR newsletter. With this in mind, I adapted the newsletter to the Atos “style”, for example, I used Atos’ official font and colours to make the newsletter look more professional and part of the company as a whole.
Overall, the internship developed many skills, especially communication and essential IT skills such as Microsoft Excel, Publisher and PowerPoint. It was definitely worth my time over summer and I gained fantastic experience in HR, digital technology and the private sector.
However, I felt the role was not as fulfilling as I would have liked it to be. HR is not an operational role and I found that my day-to-day activities were very limited, lacking in face-to-face communication. For example, instead of meeting new people or colleagues, I always Skyped others and felt like I was always sat behind my laptop – the only time I moved was to make coffee! Having said this, the internship was a fantastic way to experience something different and gain a glimpse into HR and emerging trends in technology.
If anyone is thinking of an internship, no matter what career you are interested in, I would strongly recommend trying it. Not only is it a great experience, but it can also confirm whether that career choice is right for you. My only advice would be to try and find an internship less than 3-months long so that you can afford a bit of time off over summer before university starts again!
My internship confirmed that I am more inclined for a career in the public sector, as I personally feel like I can add more value here and make a difference. For now, I am thinking of a career in either teaching or the Civil Service, which I believe is where my strengths and skillset truly lie.