Warwick Internship Programme – OurWarwick
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Warwick Internship Programme

Lucy McCormick
- History- History Society- Anything!
Find out more about me Contact Lucy

Over this summer, I have participated in Warwick’s Internship Programme (or WIP). Each year, the University funds paid internships for students with small and medium-sized enterprises, charities, and internal departments of the University. For most placements, this entails 222 hours of work. I’ve had a fantastic experience, which I’d like to share in this blog. If you’re thinking about applying to take part next year, I hope this will be of some help!

The first step in the process is finding out about WIP, whether it would suit you, and what it entails. You can find out about all of this in more detail on the website. For me, once I knew what it was all about, the main question was: do I want to do it? It’s a commitment and a responsibility; I knew I had to be prepared to devote some portion of my summer break to working, and that I would have a responsibility to my employer (and to the WIP itself) to do it well. Of course, this is a completely personal choice and depends entirely on your circumstances, but I would say that it’s worth giving all of this some serious thought in the early stages.

Next: vacancies open! Once you’ve registered your interest and signed up to the Moodle course (called ‘WIP: Your Career in Progress’ — essentially a way for you to track what skills you’re gaining as you go along), you can start looking at what’s available. This year, the vacancies were listed from early February and some did not close until May, but as vacancies are listed by individual companies and departments, many will have different deadlines. There were a lot of vacancies available to us this year, spanning marketing, research, education, administration, computing, and events management, to name just a few examples from memory. I really think there was something there for everyone, so even if you aren’t 100% sure what it is you’re looking for, I’d definitely recommend taking a look through the vacancies to see what’s on offer.

I knew that my interests lay mainly within education, so I made a note of all the relevant vacancies. I then applied my own criteria. Given the ‘unprecedented circumstances’ of current times, many opportunities were home-based, which suited me better than commuting to an office. I then looked at things like dates, requirements, and various other details, until I decided which ones I wanted to apply to. You can apply to as many as you like, but ensure you take your other deadlines and commitments into account, and perhaps focus on applying to fewer that really interest you in order to make your applications as strong as possible.

I sent off my CV, covering letters, and application emails to each vacancy. Then came interviews. These can obviously be daunting, but I found that WIP made them much more approachable; one company, for example, ran a ‘meet-and-greet’ session beforehand, in which all applicants could (virtually) meet each other, ask questions about the roles, and find out more before the interview. Some vacancies also had pre-interview tasks, which gave me the chance to see in advance what the work would be like and if it suited me. The interviewers were all very friendly and made the experience much smoother, and even if the process had ended there, interview experience is always going to be useful for the future!

Luckily, I was offered an internship with an educational website start-up in May. My employer and I discussed my availability, preferences, and aims at the very beginning, and I officially began the placement in June. It was entirely home-based, and twenty-five hours per week, which gave me a lot of flexibility over the summer. I’m really grateful that this was the case for me, so do take care when looking at vacancies to see if their schedules will work for you. My internship involved creating GCSE History exam-style questions, mark schemes, and videos explaining those mark schemes for an educational resource website. Each intern was responsible for their own subject, which was really exciting to me — I could create this project independently and produce something that felt important to me. That sense of job satisfaction was definitely a key motivator throughout the internship.

In my first meeting, I was introduced to the other interns and shown what work I would be doing. I was given a lot of freedom to carry out the work in my own way, but also had a great support network in which I felt comfortable asking my employer and colleagues for help. That environment — though virtual — was crucial to my enjoyment of the internship.

Depending on your placement, there may also be the opportunity for further work. If you begin a project that will continue beyond your 222 hours, the option might arise for you to continue part-time. One big plus of these internships for many people is the new network it provides, so you never know where your summer placement might lead!

One of the most valuable things I will take away from my internship is the reaffirmation of my career plans. I knew I wanted to work in education in some capacity, and completing this internship has proved to me how much I enjoy this field. Equally, however, the opposite experience can also be really useful; it’s better to know that you don’t enjoy what you were planning to pursue a career in now than later down the line!

Overall, I would recommend looking into WIP for next summer. I’ve loved my experience and gained so many new skills, built my confidence, and had the opportunity to work on a really exciting project. There’s no harm in looking into what’s available and sending an application!

Lucy McCormick
- History- History Society- Anything!
Find out more about me Contact Lucy

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