Ben is a third year Criminology and Social Policy student at the School of Social Sciences (SOCSI). Over the summer he worked at the Welsh Government as an intern in the crime and justice team.
Read about Ben’s internship experience and why he thinks every SOCSI student should take the opportunity to gain vital work experience.
What made you decide to carry out an internship?
There were many factors that made me decide to do an internship. Of course the benefit to my CV was a strong element. Every graduate and working adult that I'd spoken to told me that any form of work experience in any setting gave you a head start to gaining a job above others. The recruitment process was a real lesson which involved writing a personal statement, going for an interview and all the paperwork that comes with it.
Another factor was simply to gain the experience of having a real job. Working 9 to 5, five days a week is a reality that most are faced with and being a lazy student I hadn't properly experienced that for real, so this opportunity really opened my eyes to what it's like.
Lastly, the main factor was interest. The post was in the crime and justice team at the Welsh Government. As I'm doing a criminology and social policy degree, the two went hand in hand, and I couldn't believe how relevant the post was to my subject, which made it twice as interesting.
What did your internship involve?
My role was team support officer which meant my main duties were to support members of the team as they went about their daily tasks. This included booking rooms, welcoming guests, taking minutes of meetings, attending conferences, organising the team’s priorities as well as many other examples. I also got the chance to take a lead on a couple of tasks including an event involving many important agencies such as the National Assembly, home office, police, probation and other important and high ranking stakeholders.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
This is difficult to answer because the people I worked with and met throughout the placement were all extremely friendly and I was never made to feel out of my depth. There was always someone to talk to if I was unsure.
If I have to choose one I would say the early starts. It seems trivial to most normal working people but to go from rising at around midday to having to get up at 7 and not getting back until 6 in the evening was a bit of a shock to the system!
What did you find most rewarding about your internship?
On a grand scale, working for the government is incredibly rewarding as the work you do genuinely affects real people. For example, I was lucky enough to be a part of a scheme that will be introduced next year involving Integrated Offender Management and how ex-prisoners are treated once they leave prison. Similarly I had a small input on a scheme that the Welsh Government are funding which has led to 500 new Community Support Officers being trained by the end of October 2013.
What do you feel are the benefits of internships for SOCSI students?
The benefits are colossal. Besides the obvious CV improvements, I personally feel like this summer has increased my confidence, my personal management skills, how I learn and take notes as well as generally making me more focused and more switched on in a learning environment. I've met many people and gained many useful contacts which will hugely benefit my dissertation and future working life if I decide to return to a similar field. The experience as a whole has made an incredible difference and I can't urge prospective placement students enough to take one on.
What are your plans for the future once you graduate?
Good question……I think I will take a break from education. I have definitely got a lot of travelling to do before I decide to really become an adult and get a job!