An internship can be a crucial learning curve for a student or graduate, bridging the gap between theoretical work and practical application. It is also an investment in the talent of tomorrow, where today's interns can be tomorrow's employers...
A wondrous event took place in London town last night. A premiere like no other, vInspired's Swing The Vote set out to reveal what's remained a secret 'til now: exactly what will get the UK's 18-24 year olds to the ballot box next summer.
"If Joe has a first, but did nothing with his spare time, and Matt has a 2.1, but did loads of extra-curricular stuff, employers are gonna go with Matt." He spoke with so much certainty that it indoctrinated me into that mindset. I'm now in Matt's position... 80 job applications later, and it seems Joe's been chosen over me every time.
It's the scandal that no one is talking about; more than 90,000 more young women than men are out of education, employment and training - so-called NEETs. It may be a tidy acronym but now is the time to stop sweeping this issue under the carpet.
Because there is no public overseer, there is no one to take genuinely impartial responsibility for making sure that employment figures are accurate. The result is that thousands of students a year could be relying on misrepresented information to make one of the most important decisions in their lives.
What makes me smile? This does: youth unemployment is down. In fact it's down a lot... Without doubt the figures say we're going in the right direction, but I've got some bits of paper in front of me now which tell me there's a long, long way to go yet. My charity has just carried out some research on young people who've been labelled as 'NEETs'. It's a horrible term I know - and in case you didn't know, it means Not in Employment, Education or Training - but they're exactly the type of people we work with, and we need to understand how they're thinking in 2014 in order to help them.
With GCSE and A-Level results fresh in the hands of thousands of young people in the UK this week, it's important for students and their parents to be aware of the wide spectrum of available options. University will rightly continue to be a place for generations to continue their education, but it's naive to think of it as a 'one stop shop' for getting onto the career ladder.
There is support for international students among the general public who both recognise the benefits they bring and believe we should make use of their skills and talent... 'International students should be allowed to stay and work in Britain after graduating from British universities, using their skills for the benefit of our economy, for at least a period of time'.
The days were long, tedious and rather tiring and I quickly learnt that everything I had heard about being a fashion intern was frighteningly true. The lows are lower than low, but the highs are pretty darn great... "If I can do this and still love this industry, than this is the industry for me."
I am earning money already and learning how to manage my finances. Whereas if I had gone to University, I would have around £66k debt to pay! To make matters worse, Computer Science graduates are earning less every year, they are earning on average £2,261 less today than in 2007. Instead, I will have earned over £66k creating a difference of over £132k!
Searching for a job is dull, difficult and downright depressing. It's frustrating to spend hours honing an application only to have nothing but radio silence in return, so when that much prayed-for email does come saying thanks for applying and hey, you don't seem so bad, we'd love to meet you, it pays to make sure you're not going to let down a red hot application with a damp squib of an interview.