Written by Charlotte Abraham, BA Art and Psychology Student
The Reading Internship Scheme (RIS) is available to all students at the University of Reading. The scheme allows you to work with small businesses and charities on a variety of projects throughout the year. All internships can be found on MyJobsOnline, where you can view all the details and send in your Cover Letter and CV.
My name is Charlotte and I used the RIS in my third year here at the University of Reading. The careers team were on hand with any questions I had about the scheme and helping me with my applications along the way. I applied to a few summer internships, not expecting anything but hoping for the best. I was surprised to find out that I had an interview, and then accepted for a project manager role at involve Community Services, a charity in Bracknell. Along this journey, I found out that there were elements of the scheme and of the internships that improved my employability in ways that a normal summer job may not have been able to.
Firstly, decision making. Working in small teams allows for quick and efficient decision making where you are completely involved. I found this to be a major part of the project I worked on as it allowed the quick progress into bigger and more exciting elements. This also keeps you on your toes and allows you to quickly adapt – something employers look for.
Another way the scheme helped improve my employability was through the cover letter and CV. Completely personalising my cover letter and CV to the roles that I applied to allow a direct communication and understanding between myself, the employer, and the role. It also prepared me for the interview as I was prepared before attending. The careers consultants were also on hand to check everything over. Always double check!
Independence is something you often have in different roles but partnered with being the lead on a project and almost being your own boss, you have to take this independence and time management to the next level. Making sure you don’t over-stretch yourself while getting things done shows your resourcefulness. Asking for help isn’t a weakness here either – it shows that you know what your limits are and where you can gain more knowledge. All of these elements are learned in depth over an internship with RIS and are consistently looked for by employers.
There is a huge sense of pride when finishing an internship, knowing that you have helped a small business or charity with an element that they were unsure of, or needed a helping hand to complete. Some internships provide further work, knowing that the person they just had was the key to future success. Developing skills with a small team in a close-knit environment is something I believe everyone should experience as it will help in all future situations.