Employ.ed: An Inter(n)esting Summer

Presentation practice!

This summer I have had the pleasure and the privilege of taking part in the University’s Employ.ed on Campus 2018 programme. Employ.ed on Campus is a structured internship programme for undergraduate students in their 2nd, 3rd or penultimate year. Not only does it involve paid work experience in numerous departments across the University, there is also the opportunity to complete an Edinburgh Award. I would thoroughly recommend doing this, as it really helped me to reflect on my development over the summer, and see how much I had improved. At the end of my internship, I gave a presentation to other interns at the Employ.ed Final Event, detailing my developmental goals, as well as how they had progressed. It was so exciting to hear what everyone else had been getting up to too!

So how did I spend my summer? I was the Digital Skills for Students Advisor for the Digital Skills and Training team within Information Services. My role was to identify the digital developmental needs of undergraduate students here at the University, and write a report recommending ways in which they can be improved. Working within Information Services really opened my eyes to the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, which as a student you never really think about. It was extremely interesting to get a glimpse into the work being done to help improve the student experience.

Throughout the summer, I was able to conduct my research in various ways. I created a survey, and held three focus groups with undergraduate students, in order to get real feedback on the current student opinion of digital skills. I also met with academics and other staff throughout the three Colleges to see what is currently being done to provide students with digital resources. By the end of my ten weeks, I had produced a detailed report recommending improvements to the team, and created a video to go alongside this, voicing student opinions. You can watch this here.

One thing I was surprised by was the amount of independence I had. As I was working on a separate, self-contained project, I did not have daily tasks given to me, but more of an overall expectation. This allowed me to work at my own pace, and set deadlines for myself, which really improved my organisational skills. However, my line manager Andy Todd was always on hand to answer any questions I had, and the whole Digital Skills and Training team were really welcoming and friendly. It was a very positive workplace environment!

Aside from my organisational skills, I also developed my leadership abilities through leading the focus groups. I am now a lot more confident in approaching people I am unfamiliar with to ask for help, something that I really struggled with before! I have also learned the importance of being flexible, and recognising when things are not working and need to be changed. These are all vital employability skills that will hopefully stand me in good stead when applying for graduate jobs, and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to develop them.

Overall, taking part in the Employ.ed on Campus programme this summer has been a whirlwind of new people, places and opportunities. Not only have I gained some valuable experience, and discovered that the 9-5 office life isn’t actually as daunting as I thought it would be, I’ve also made some real friends amongst the other interns at Argyle House. Below is a picture I managed to snap at one of our many lunchtimes, where everything and anything was discussed:

Lunch at Argyle House

To anyone thinking of applying to the programme next year, or to those of you who are on the fence: do it! It’s definitely been one of the most inter(n)esting summers of my life.

You can read previous blog posts about interning and Employ.ed on Campus below:

Getting a taste for work: Internships at the University of Edinburgh

The ‘other side’ of the university: Employ.ed on Campus Internship

Jordana Black

Jordana Black is a Mathematics Student at the University, entering the fourth and final year of her degree. She has spent the summer working as a Digital Skills for Students Advisor within Information Services, as part of the Employ.ed on Campus 2018 programme.

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