myInternSwap on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme
24 June 2015 – This morning, myInternSwap founder, Nick Simmons appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme to discuss the site’s recent growth in membership. He discussed with Buzzfeed journalist, Jim Waterson and BBC’s Sarah Montague that for myInternSwap’s core demographic of 16-20 year-olds, work experience is about gaining real life experience rather than box-ticking on a CV. While Waterson raised concerns about “opportunity hoarding”, Nick made it clear that although myInternSwap can’t guarantee the degree of social mobility within the site, it certainly acts as a good starting point for increasing both access to and the numbers of internships and work experience places available. Listen to the interview in full.
Accountancy vs Lion Taming; how work experience can help you choose
24 March 2015 – Have you ever struggled with how to change career from chartered accountancy to lion taming? Even if not, anyone can identify with Mr Anchovy in Monty Python’s famous Vocational Guidance Counsellor sketch. Throughout school, university and beyond, young people often feel pressure to stick to a specific academic or vocational trajectory.
However, thanks to services such as myInternSwap, it is now easier than ever to dip in and out of a huge variety of work experience places, ranging from the traditional, such as chartered accountancy, law and engineering, to the obscure, such as lion taming, yoga and boat building. Whether or not you know what kind of career you’re interested in, doing as much work experience and in as many different categories as you can, is the best foundation on which to base a this all-important decision.
Beyond white-collar internships
6 March 2015 – Sometimes people have the misconception that work experience and internships mostly take place at big, white-collar work places. But we’re trying to change that view.
Aside from simply creating more work experience places, myInternSwap is also on a mission to draw more SME’s, micro-businesses and even self-employed people into the work experience marketplace. We also firmly believe that no matter how unusual a placement might be, it could be a valuable learning experience for a young person.
The best indicator of this shift is the huge variety of new offers that have appeared on myInternSwap in the last month. They include work placements in photography, radiology, sports science, a fish & chip shop, construction, a sniper rifle factory and timber boat building. Nevertheless, there are also hundreds of placements in finance, IT, law, marketing and design… for those that don’t want to get their hands dirty… yet!
Social mobility: empowering those without the right connections
26 February 2015 – You might heave heard the BBC Radio 4 Analysis documentary on social mobility which aired on Sunday. Not only was the program fascinating, it touched on a lot of issues close to our heart.
Young people need to be exposed to constructive and challenging work experience to help them achieve whatever it is they wish to do, and we completely agree that it's becoming harder to find quality work experience these days – in fact, we’ve been shouting it from the rooftops.
Like the BBC (you can hear them discuss it at fifteen minutes in), we are of the opinion that part of the problem is “opportunity hoarding”. Many people just hold on to potentially life changing work experience, and that’s the problem we want to help solve.
The answer lies in the sharing economy. Airbnb encouraged people to share their real estate, and Streetbank did the same for personal property, myInternSwap encourages people to share their useful and relevant work experience. We want to create a sharing economy of opportunity.
A successful internship swap opens doors for everyone involved – so don’t hoard your opportunities – sign up and get swapping!
School careers events
20 February 2015 – early spring is the time when lots of schools and their students are starting to focus on next steps, whether it’s higher education or work.
myInternSwap has been been attending school careers fairs from Harrow, to Burlington Danes, City of London and Waddeston School. At these events, we have been spreading the word about the importance of work experience for students’ applications to universities and employers.
The fairs have featured a wide range of stands from companies and higher education establishments, offering insights to students about the huge range of options open to them. myInternSwap has fitted nicely into this mix, because the one constant piece of advice from everyone is that work experience is a must.
Thanks to all the students, parents and teachers who visited our stands and the many who signed-up.
Qualification vs. Experience
14 December 2014 – Recent studies, run on media outlets, like BBC and London’s Metro newspaper, support myInternSwap’s findings, which show that while only 1 in 4 employers are interested in the class of a candidate’s degree, more than half prefer to see relevant work experience.
As the UK job market reaches its highest level of confidence in the last decade, paid internship programs are on the rise, with more than 13,000 paid work experience places currently being offered. However, the 10th annual Graduate Market study also suggests that these sought-after places are only being offered to candidates who can demonstrate previous work experience. These findings are good news for those who are already signed-up to services like myInternSwap to gain work experience and boost their CV’s before joining the graduate job hunt.
Why is work experience important?
28 November 2014 – We all know, instinctively, that work experience and internships are becoming more and more important to students’ future educational and work prospects. A wide range of research and anecdotal evidence is helping to support this view, and our info-graphic highlights some of the current facts and thoughts.
Employers’ attitudes to internships and the importance they attach to candidates having relevant work experience is a key underlying trend. For example, whilst only 1 in 4 employers highly rated a candidate’s ‘class’ of degree, more than half of employers were looking for relevant work experience. Technology is playing its part too, with 28% of employers saying that they already (or plan to) hire virtual interns, i.e working remotely from a student’s home city or campus. Meanwhile, the usual suspects top the list of categories of work experience offered, with marketing, finance and entertainment being the most common.
To study medicine or not?
02 November 2014 – In our latest Intern Insider guest post, FoMIS Jonathan tells us how working with cancer survivors helped him decide.
“Last year, my father gave an internship to the son of a family friend at his micro-finance company in London. In exchange, the boy’s family invited me to do a two-week-long work experience placement at their volunteer-led medical centre for cancer survivors in Thailand. At that point, I was trying to decide whether or not to apply for medicine at uni, so accepting the offer was a no-brainer! My time at the centre was very insightful. I got to shadow various heads of department and find out about x-rays, surgery, pathology and micro-biology cell cultures. Even though I faced many challenges during my placement (such as the language barrier between the patients and me), it was extremely rewarding and is the reason that I did eventually decide to apply for medicine. Now I’m in my first year at Barts and the London School of Medicine and I love it!”
Shadowing’s not creepy – it’s cool!
16 October 2014 – What’s the difference between an internship and work experience? We thought we’d try and clarify this and some other key words...
Although the terms work experience and internship are used by different people to mean slightly different things, they are more-or-less interchangeable. On balance, internship tends to describe slightly longer, formal placements, and for more qualified students or even graduates. Shorter placements for younger less qualified students are more commonly referred to as work experience.
Shadowing, meanwhile, is used to describe short placements, sometimes even a day or two, where the ‘intern’ can get a feel for the day-to-day work life of a person in a particular career field, just by watching what goes on. There’s even observation, which some people use to describe shadowing or work experience.
Shadowing and observation can also be a good way for small businesses and self-employed people to offer ‘work experience’, as they might initially find it difficult to commit to a longer internship.
For internships, size doesn’t matter
02 October 2014 – Another Intern Insider guest post by FoMIS Amelia.
The summer before my degree at UCL (London) I did a two-month work placement in Bloomington, Indiana under the supervision of Violette Verdy, Distinguished Professor of Music and holder of the Kathy Anderson Chair in Ballet at Indiana University.
I organised and adapted decades worth of Violette’s archival material in preparation for a major exhibition showcasing her life and achievements. Before this, I had always thought that work experience would be in a big office. However, I found that working closely with a individual was both intense and rewarding, with my brief and feedback coming direct from the ‘boss’. I think I got even more out of this internship than I would have in a big corporate environment.
How work experience made Luca go Japanese!
22 September 2014 – Here’s our latest Intern Insider guest post by another FoMIS (Friend of myInternSwap).
“Back during my A-levels I didn’t have much idea of what degree to take or career to follow. I managed to get a work experience week, actually via a family swap, and ended up at Chatham House, the International Affairs think-tank in London. By a complete coincidence, that week I helped out with a big conference on Japan, which just clicked with a personal connection – my best friend is Japanese and I’ve spent a few holidays in Tokyo.
The Japan angle spurred me on to apply to SOAS (London’s School of Oriental and African Studies) to take a Japanese degree – and I’ve just graduated with a 2.1 this summer! Amazing how that slightly random ‘toe in the water’ internship helped me get the direction I needed”.
Interns Inside (an American in London)
16 September 2014 – Our new series of posts by FoMIS (Friend of myInternSwap) keen to share their stories and encourage others to get work experience! Check back with us for more stories in the coming weeks and send us your own... it’s good writing practice and we might publish you!
Gracie, an American in London, paid her way through uni working as an intern – sometimes even working two internships at a time. Way to go, and here’s how it paid off for her.
“When I took on an internship at Hi Mum! Said Dad as the Social Media marketeer and office manager I had no idea how much the way the office is managed and can influence the team and atmosphere. Ultimately my role was about helping the team stay productive with rewards like functions and fun outings for hard work well done. In my social media role I learned new terminology and saw first hand how much goes into App design, web design and web development. My work also helped clarify for me the differences between marketing for business vs. consumers. After graduating last year, I was asked to stay on, as a full time Marketing Executive. I’m still loving it and continuing to learn more every day”.
So, swapping internships does work
12 September 2014 – So, it turns out that myinternswap.com is not the first to figure that by offering an internship you have a good chance of securing one yourself. But we do think we have a far smarter, more efficient and networked way to make good swaps happen. See this article in The Wall Street Journal (via Google) by @KellyGreene, May 2013.
If you haven't already, it's time to sign-up and list at myInternSwap and begin to find and swap work experince and internship places.
18 August 2014 – As you’ve probably gathered from a look around the site, myInternSwap is a brand new place for people to find internships and work experience. We’re just gearing up to launch so please feel free to share your first impressions; there’s still time for us to incorporate your good ideas.
If you’re looking for an internship why not start by taking a look at the video below or our About page and the FAQs. Then, if you’ve got an offer to post and a request to make, go ahead to sign-up and post.
In the coming weeks as more people learn about the site through social media, friends, family and professional networks, you’ll see more and more postings coming online.
So don’t forget to keep checking back and to tell your friends about your new discovery.
Finally, if you’d like to join us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, please don’t be shy.
See you back here soon!