Our First Blog

Written by Deano
Thursday, 11 April 2013 15:48

Right, so this is our first blog, I say our although by all means, I mean mine, of course only in the physical sense.

I've always hated the phrase "to put pen to paper" as it's a bit hard to put pen to paper, not only for the fact that my hand writing is utterly disgraceful and is reminiscent of what you would see on a doctor’s note, and the fact that my desk is full of business proposal documents as well as general notes I’ve left lying around to remind myself but also for the fact that, well, we have the internet, smartphones, tablets etc and it’s a hell of a lot easier and accessible to start typing and much more effective and efficient for not only me, but for my purpose of spreading a message and getting it out there.

So without further ado, I’ll try and put pen to paper and explain the life and times of an Intern, not only from a recent graduate perspective, but also from an employer’s perspective and of course I’ll try and break that stereotypical view of what an Intern is.

I guess I’ll have to start by giving you a bit of background about who I am and how I got to be where I am today, although that little saying makes me sound like and feel like someone on a TV Show: An Audience with... which, I'll not rule out as a possibility at this stage. It's going to be a hard task to explain that as for the remainder of this blog as well as future blogs, I’ll be remaining anonymous and acting or blogging for that matter under the name of Intern001, and that's not because I don't want you to know who I am and what I do or to even make me sound like a stupidly geeky superhero (which I assure you, I'm not) but it's so I don't have to put personal ownership to it, so I can express the view of an Intern and say the experiences an Intern actually goes through and not just those experiences that I’ll be going through.

A like every superhero, even the stupidly geeky ones, my alias of course means something, like Ironman's, although the common Mark 3 suit which we all know, and hopefully love isn't actually made of iron but rather composed entirely out of advanced composite ceramics and experimental bio-neural gel-pack circuitry, fused with kevlar-like polymer and backed by optical fiber networks,but for now I guess I’ll leave my alias and its meaning to that of your imagination, unless you are a co-worker of mine, in which, I would hope you would get it instantly.

So, who am I? apart from of course being an Intern who works in the University of Sunderland, who has shocking handwriting and who clearly knows a thing or 2 about Ironman, or the existence of Wikipedia to benefit my cause I should say, but I’m sure every student knows that one and "forgets to reference".

Simply put, I'm a recent graduate of the University of Sunderland (@sunderlanduni for all those twitter users), I've held a prestigious position (or at least I believe so) with affiliation to the university and now I hold an Intern position which is directly aimed and focused around providing our most recent university graduate co-hort with internship opportunities to help further their professional development and career aspects.

We run 2 different schemes here at the university in regards to internships, and before I go on and explain, I’ll just say I love saying "we" when I’m talking about something the university offers, mainly for the fact that the university is so diverse and multicultural in what it offers and we all feel like we play a part in it in some way shape or form even if you think we don't.

For instance, when you graduate, and your stood up at the side of the stage under the roof of the Stadium of Light, there's only 3 people that play a role in what's surely something of a remarkable occasion and a once in a lifetime, or as we say in Sunderland, a lifechanging experience (unless you come back for a Post-Grad as you can do it all over again and apologies for the university plug in there if you caught on). These 3 people who play that role are; The Dean of your Faculty (John, Bernie, Gary or Graeme right now in Sunderland's case), the Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Fidler & the Chancellor, Steve Cram. All of these are people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and all of these are people who dedicate themselves to further your educational benefit. But, these aren't the only people who are responsible for that feeling you have on stage, unless you get a firm handshake which hurts, then in that case, they're directly responsible for that. What I’m trying to say here, without going on a tangent like I already have is that everybody in the University of Sunderland is part of that offer, even if it’s not under their remit, and that's because the university is a close knit, but open community who have a hell of a lot of people behind the scenes working for you, whether this is the lecturer that brightens up your hung-over Thursday, the technician that wipes down the surfaces, the librarian that puts the books people leave lying around back on their shelves, the gateway team that are always smiling and of course the fantastic team that provide us with freshly baked goods from Greggs, which is maybe why the gateway team are always smiling since they are so close to it?

Well anyways back to the 2 schemes.

The first scheme is the Graduate Internship Scheme. This scheme is ran through the European Regional Development Fund and aims at providing graduate opportunities in the region for ANY graduate from ANY university of ANY graduation class.

Therefore it's a MASSIVE scheme, we place graduates into businesses to help provide the graduate with work experience, and to help develop their skills whether that's technical skills or general employability skills whilst of course providing the graduate with an income which right now is graduate salary at £14,859, which for all you recent graduates who's parents or friends are laughing at them saying now you have to pay your loan back and have got you worried about your debt rather than having you worried about the clinical over pricing of freddo chocolate bars, well you don't have to pay it back just yet as this grade is just under the Student Loan repayment borderline. This though, always takes me back to a lifelong lesson and phrase which I actually admire, unlike other phrases, and this phrase is: "There's no such thing as a free lunch!”

The reason I refer to this phrase is to explain why a business would want to be part of it, why would a business want a graduate to come into their workplace, into their territory, which they've already established and give the graduate this opportunity which may be deemed as just developing the graduate? Well, there's many reasons for this, probably one of the most well known ones, is to give a bit of fresh blood into their organization, the see it from a different light, and to bring in new energy and new ideas for the business to develop.

I always see it like a glass of coke, the business is the coke, it works, it’s out there, and the intern is the ice. You put ice into a coke, it instantly becomes more refreshing, you begin to taste a lot more than you would without, you take the ice out and you'll still enjoy the drink. So what happens when the ice has melted and it’s done? This of course is a cheeky reference to an internship contract. Our studies show, 86% of our ice is kept on and becomes the coke. So who are we in all of this? And there I go again using the term we. Well we, and in this case I mean the whole of the University are the people that keep filling up the ice tray and putting it in the freezer.

I feel like I should say a bit more about how I’ve just compared a business to coke, it’s not the commercialization inside me trying to get out, and I (unfortunately) don't have a lucrative sponsorship deal with them... yet, but it’s for the fact that the coke is adaptable, and therefore is exactly like a business. A business can grow and develop but only if it wants to and you can see that something may work by itself, but works better by adding something. And there's a small plea and advert to a business to come fill up their ice trays.

However I should say that when I’m in wetherspoons and I ask for coke and they ask me if Pepsi is ok with a dumbfounded look that I may actually say no, I always say yes, not just to brighten up their day at work but again because I can get ice with it and make it taste a bit better. But saying that, and me coming from a personal perspective here and maybe I shouldn't say it, but in a way it kind of relates to everything. I rarely drink coke, or Pepsi for that matter with ice, I like totally changing the flavour, and I like something a bit stronger with a better longer lasting impression, I like Jack Daniels in my coke/Pepsi, and in blogs to come, I may just reference Jack Daniels and Coke again and relate that one to KTP's....who knows, you'll just have to keep reading.

Well anyways that sums up the Graduate Internship Scheme, placing a student of any university of any graduation year with a company within the region to develop both the graduate and the company.

So, on to the next one...

Sunderland Intern Factory. Now this is unique, this is new, this is Sunderland, and this will maybe be imitated and set up at different universities in coming years.

Sunderland Intern Factory is a like the Graduate Internship Scheme where we provide a graduate with a graduate salary job again starting from £14,859 in a company to help both develop the graduate and the company, however this is like adding lemon to a coke, giving it a bit of an extra twist.

This is only open to University of Sunderland Graduates, in particular the most recent Graduate co-hort, so in this case 2012 Graduates, and in next year’s case 2013 and so on.....

Instantly you can see that we've narrowed down the competition from all university Graduates to JUST University of Sunderland Graduates, so for example say if there was only 10 universities in the country that have been going for 10 years producing 1000 graduates each year so they all had 10 thousand graduate students, that would be 100,000 graduates fighting for potentially one place. Now I’m not a betting man, but I would raise the stakes and play this one blind and say your chances are very slim of getting that place.

But it’s only University of Sunderland graduates you’re up against here, so it’s really only 10,000 you’re up against, I’d just raise here and not play blind on this hand.

But Sunderland Intern Factory has narrowed it down to only University of Sunderland graduates from the most recent graduate year so that 10,000 number drops to 1000. My chances of being right have just dropped down a lot, and you're chances of being employed have just went up! So you can see how much the employment competition has been decreased through Sunderland Intern Factory, and how your employability chances have increased, but let’s just metaphorically paint a picture here.

In that graduate class of 1000, imagine there's only 10 courses, each with 100 students, now imagine there's an internship for Sports Journalism, and Sports Journalism was one of those courses. Would anyone else other than the Sports Journalist Graduates apply for this internship? I don't think so, why would they?

So theoretically, if you are a Sports Journalist, and this opportunity came around in this instance, you would really only be going up against 100 people rather than the initial 1000.

This is the time where I’d fold my hand of cards...

So now you know about me, Intern001 and you know about the 2 internship schemes we have to offer I’ll leave that metaphorical pack of cards in your hands.

And if you ever need any more information, just shine a torch into the night’s sky with a bat symbol on, and I’ll be at hand. By the torch I of course mean an e-mail and the night sky with the bat symbol is there to represent - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ....

....and just for those that do that, whether you are a graduate, a soon to be graduate or a business and you get the reply, please note that its monitored by more than one person so you won’t be able to pin point my identity ;)

Make sure you keep up to date by following us on twitter @internfactory or liking our page on facebook by searching Sunderland Intern Factory and of course, make sure to keep checking this blog to hear about the experiences of being an intern.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 April 2013 20:40 )