Previous Consumer Behaviour and Marketing student Laura Elphick took part in the Reading Internship Scheme. Learn about her experience as an intern and why she recommends the University of Reading internship programme ⬇
I took part in the Reading Internship Scheme during my final year as an undergraduate back in 2019. I was accepted for a position as a Communications Intern at EIT Food for 8 weeks over the summer. EIT Food is Europe’s Leading Food Innovation Initiative and they are working to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, and trusted. They have 5 offices across Europe and my internship took place in their regional office in Reading.
During the internship, my role was to support the Communications Manager with corporate communications, including writing articles and press releases for the EIT Food website and taking ownership of their internal newsletter. I enjoyed having an opportunity to take ownership of EIT Food’s internal newsletter, as a concern when often starting an internship is that you will be doing the ‘not-so-fun’ tasks, so I appreciated being able to get stuck in. I was also involved in interviews with some really interesting and amazing entrepreneurs and startups who are working in the food industry and then produce articles about their journey to publish on the website and promote in the newsletter. It was fascinating to talk to people who are working on some revolutionary innovative technologies. For example, one startup was creating a matchmaking platform for companies to trade their waste materials, to reduce food loss and waste during food production. Here, one company’s waste is another company’s primary material!
“I would definitely recommend the Reading Internship Scheme to those considering it. Having an opportunity to gain work experience is so important as it equips you with the skills needed for future employment.”
Over the 8 weeks, I was introduced to a regional team of 8 colleagues and regularly reported back to my Manager. I was also involved in online calls with other colleagues from the other offices across Europe and I really valued being part of a diverse team made up of different cultures and nationalities. All colleagues took the time to arrange individual meetings to introduce themselves which was also hugely appreciated.
The project I most enjoyed was helping to record several podcast episodes at a studio in London. I joined EIT Food just as they were launching a podcast series – The Food Fight Podcast, and I supported researching themes and background information for the episodes. It was brilliant to travel to the studio and see how a podcast is recorded. The first episode I supported was entitled ‘Can we really feed 10 billion people by 2050?’, and I was able to meet the guests that participated in the episode which was exciting.
During the internship, I felt that I improved my communication skills, as I had previously not worked amongst such a diverse team. I developed my confidence over the 8 weeks and by the end, I felt like a valued member of the team. At the start I was apprehensive about presenting a project or expressing my opinions during a meeting however, as time went on I grew into the role and felt more assertive and confident.
As the internship came to an end I was offered a 1-year placement opportunity to continue my role as a Communications Assistant which I happily accepted! I have now been working for EIT Food for almost 2 years and I was promoted last year to Communications and Engagement Officer, leading on regional communications at the office in Reading.
I would definitely recommend the Reading Internship Scheme to those considering it. Having an opportunity to gain work experience is so important as it equips you with the skills needed for future employment. Many of the internships run during the holidays if you do not want to take part during term time. Good luck to all those who are seeking work experience and definitely give the Reading Internship Scheme a try – you won’t regret it!