Internships are a path to success
06 Dec 16
Internships are a path to success
Many agencies and other businesses may be wondering if taking on an intern is the right thing to do? To help, I thought it would useful to write about our experience at Zest The Agency.
To date, we have had six interns working across our creative, client service and business admin teams since 2010 and their placements have been for a minimum of one year. Sometimes their placements have stretched to 14 months where some of them have joined as soon as they finished University in the summer and then worked through to the following September.
Over the years we have worked with a number of universities and through trial and error we have found some are very reliable, and we are particularly impressed with Bournemouth as they repeatedly provide us with high calibre interns.
What is important is that we as a business have learned from the experience and each year our training offer has got stronger and stronger. We now work with the student to plan their placement, making sure it is bespoke to their modules of interest and ensure that they get a real and true experience of working within an agency.
During their time with Zest The Agency the interns not only receive on-the-job training, they also receive out-of-house training from our strategic partners. In addition to this, our suppliers are also fundamental in providing real experiences in print factories and tours, animation and AR studios etc. So you can see that they get plenty of insight in how our industry works and interacts with other services and businesses.
Taking on an intern over other arrangements really suits our business. In the year they spend with us, we are fully committed to the intern getting the best from their time and vice versa. It also means we are able to rotate our interns each year with new and fresh talent joining the team across all our departments.
Another benefit is that the interns we take on are generally in their 2nd or 3rd year. After their final year we’re in constant communication with them to see whether securing them a full time position with us works for both the business and the intern. Of the six interns we have had at Zest The Agency, we have offered two of them full time positions since they’ve finished university.
Reading this you may be wondering why we as a business place such an importance on interns? Well, we love nurturing and shaping future talent and interns provide us with that opportunity, leading to a mutually beneficial scenario where we commit to each other for the placement period.
They also give us their best raw talent and we give them an opportunity to hone their skills on real business and project experiences. Importantly, we don’t hide them away as they are fundamentally integrated into our teams and given real experiences.
At the same time they understand what it means to come in to work, learning how to interact with colleagues and clients and building their confidence. This leaves them in a great position when seeking future employment.
For many businesses they find it difficult sparing the time to take on and develop interns. For us it's a great opportunity for our teams, who are fully involved in our intern programme and support it. The team leaders of the relevant departments get involved in the advertising, shortlisting and interviewing of the interns and they own the selection process. They fully understand what the impact of an intern in the team has - as it is a core investment of staff’s time to coach, train and nurture them. However, having seen over the years how much we gain from our interns, we believe it is a worthwhile business investment.
Belinda Collins, MD, Zest the Agency