Why investing in internships makes sense
Nurturing talent never goes out of fashion
London Fashion Week continues to showcase some of the most exciting and innovative designers of fashion in the world, boosting the British economy by an estimated £26 billion. It remains one of the most coveted industries to work in and research from the Oxford Economics 2014 report shows that 797,000 jobs are supported by the relentless pursuit of style. This year, a group of protesters highlighted the practice of unpaid internships in the sector to the detriment of students keen to get a foot on the career ladder and often having to work additional jobs during their unpaid internship in fashion.
Interestingly, the verb “to intern” is defined as “to restrict or confine”, largely applied to prisoners of war, whereas the noun is applied to the student or apprentice working under expert supervision and guidance while learning on the job. The practice of making entry-level employees ‘earn’ their right to a career by effectively working for free or without reasonable parameters for what constitutes a gainful placement certainly seems to combine these two definitions.
Companies who wish to employ interns should evaluate the benefits for the candidates as well as the business. Internships should be interesting and meaningful to the candidate and offer the right opportunities for learning and development, long after the placement has ended. Most importantly, they should be adequately remunerated and structured to add value to all parties. A successful internship programme is one which not only supports the development of talent and nurtures a fresh generation of ambassadors for the industry, but also offers the opportunity for businesses to ‘grow its own’ by generating loyal and well-trained entry-level staff.
“We feel strongly that young people can have an important contribution to make in the organisation even if they’re still learning the ropes. Companies can greatly benefit from interns’ fresh approach. Language Connect believes in giving young people opportunities and throughout the years we’ve enjoyed great success by investing in new graduates who went on to become star employees” comments Iwona Stepien, a director of Language Connect.
Language Connect has a structured internship programme in place which offers 4-month placements for candidates in the translation and interpreting sector. Our candidates are selected based on a skills assessment and assigned a placement within a specialised team, suitable to their skills as well as future aspirations. As an employer, welcoming up to twelve interns working within our team each year provides us with perspective and valuable insight into new developments and trends in language education. Furthermore, a number of our interns stay with us permanently and build their careers to management level within a short time.
Elena Martin Laguna, now a Project Manager in our London-based translation team, completed her internship in 2012.
“Doing my internship at Language Connect gave me a fantastic opportunity to test my ideas and participate as a full member of the translation team. It’s given me enormous confidence to develop my skills and forge my career within the industry.”
To learn more about Language Connect’s internship programme, visit www.linguistconnect.net