Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Internships and other work experiences

4 Would working remotely suit me?

Watch this short video to hear from an intern about how a virtual internship worked for him.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4
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Transcript: Video 4

EMAD HARAZI:
So for my internship, I helped to develop the intranet for the charity. And that involved designing some web pages using Microsoft SharePoint.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: Were you nervous?]

In the beginning, I was really nervous, because I had never done anything like this before. But I was really keen to get started. And as time went on, the nerves did settle and I really got into my groove.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: Most important remote working skill needed?]

I felt like the main skill that was important with working remotely was being able to organise yourself. Not having a schedule imposed on you can be quite difficult. So it was really important that I was able to manage myself and manage my time correctly to be able to complete the work that was set for me. I felt like through my OU studies, I had gained these skills and it came in really handy when it came to my internship.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: Did you feel part of a team working remotely?]

The employers made me feel part of the team right from the beginning. When the internship started, we had a phone call where I was introduced to everybody. I was made to feel welcome. They clearly laid out what they wanted to achieve with their project and how I could contribute to that achievement. Laying this out as well as they did really helped me to focus on what I had to do to get the most out of the internship.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: What was expected of you?]

I was keen on making sure that I didn't let the employer down and I didn't let myself down. So I had quite strong expectations for myself.
Speaking to them, they were really great. They made me feel welcome. They laid out exactly what they were expecting from me, but at the same time, gave me the room to try to be innovative, to explore my creativity.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: How did you organise your work?]

I wasn't really given a set list of things that I needed to do step by step. It was more a blank sheet that I was able to work on. Which at first was very challenging, but allowing to express yourself, you learn a bit more about yourself, which was really good.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: What did you gain from it?]

It not only gave me the experience of working in the field, but it also gave me the confidence to know that I am capable of doing the work.

[TEXT ON SCREEN: Would you recommend an internship?]

To anyone who is considering doing an internship in the future, I would definitely recommend it, especially if it's your first time. It may seem nerve-racking at first, but you will eventually realise that you can do the work and the experience will be so important moving forward. It also looks great on your CV and lets future employees know that not only are you academic, but you also have experience in the field that you're trying to get into, it's also really good for your confidence.
End transcript: Video 4
Video 4
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Take the time now to consider whether working remotely and doing a virtual internship could work for you.

Activity 2 Could I work remotely?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity

In the box below, summarise the potential pros and cons for you of working from home.

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Discussion

Even if you’ve never worked at home in an employment context, the experience could be very similar to time spent writing a dissertation or other piece of academic work. Dorsey (2017) outlines the following pros and cons, many of which chime with the pros and cons of virtual internships outlined earlier:

Pros

  • flexible working hours
  • no commute
  • better work–life balance
  • home comforts
  • no office politics.

Cons

  • social isolation
  • fewer work friends
  • lack of group brainstorming and colleague support
  • distractions
  • IT issues.

If you are early on in your career, you might decide that an internship that bases you in an office or similar environment surrounded by people will suit you better. This will certainly develop and enhance your face-to-face communication skills and familiarise you with office etiquette etc.

However, if you have already experienced the world of work, and had opportunities to develop your communications skills, the option of a virtual internship could work very well for you. It might also allow you to develop different kinds of communication skills, e.g. using digital skills, that could become increasingly useful in the future.

Also, if you are already in full-time work or education, a virtual internship might be the most convenient option for you.

In the next section, you’ll look at how to make a success of working from a distance.

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