Love them or hate them, you cannot escape that internships are increasingly becoming a fact of life in our current job market. With graduate unemployment the highest it has been in 15 years, and young people hit the hardest overall, it is indisputable that for all the bad, internships are a bite-sized way of trying out a new industry for size, without the commitment of a two year contract and company pension.
Here at RSA projects we are very excited about our paid internships scheme, launching today. Staffed by many an internship veteran, we had withdrawn our prior unpaid internship scheme whist we worked out how to make this kind of work fair. As few internships really are the unpaid ‘shadowing’ they are supposed to be by law, we wanted to ensure that any scheme we ran had benefits for the intern and for the RSA and was truly open to all, not just those who can afford to work for free.
So, for the next year we will be taking on two full-time interns every quarter, and we will be paying them the London living wage. This will be complimented by our volunteer positions available to those who cannot commit to full-time work but would like the experience either for their academic courses, or to compliment career changes; and our work-experience scheme with Lilian Baylis School.
For anyone considering applying, or who knows someone who should, here are some of the principles of our soon-to-be-finalised intern policy.
1. Hire for attitude, not for skills: smart beats experience, and initiative trumps all.
- We are most interested in where people want to be, not where they are currently.
- But, as it is harder to walk the walk than to talk the talk, we want to see evidence of you being the kind of person that can make things happen. What have you organised, what projects have helped get off the ground? This can be anything from a school fete, to a music festival, to a soup kitchen, to a car pooling scheme.
2. Look for diversity in background as well as thinking styles.
- Any work place where everyone agrees is likely to lose touch with reality and get stale pretty quick: what new blood can you bring to the RSA?
- You don’t need to be a graduate to do many ‘graduate-level’ jobs. What skills can you bring in from whatever roles you have had in your life? This could be office experience, administrative roles, volunteering or just the multitasking job that is being a full-time mother and home-keeper.
3. On the job training and transferable skills building.
- We will try and provide as much skills training as possible. This could be me giving you a quick run-through social network analysis, some shadowing of the external affairs team, or externally run training opportunities.
- The internship roles will seek to give you as diversified skills as possible: from analysis, to events organisation, to research, to community project development.
4. We won’t abandon
you at the end of the internship
- We are currently setting up an internship innovation network: that will be focused on how we make these transitional roles better for all involved.
- The internship follow-up will feature CV workshops, a debrief meeting and opportunities to network with other intern ‘alumni’ and partners from the RSA and beyond.
For more information, the internship adverts, and some of my favoruite CV and application tips, visit http://www.thersa.org/about-us/internships