Are you a current or prospective student thinking about increasing your employment opportunities? There are a couple of great avenues to do so and I would like to share these with you based on my experience over the last decade or so…
My name is Steve Lowy, and I am a graduate of Salford Business School. I graduated with a 2:1 in Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2003 and had a wonderful time living and studying in Greater Manchester. After University, I travelled around the world with a backpack and on returning from a year away working and travelling, I embarked on my career. I started by running a 500 bed backpackers hostel in Central London and went on to launch my own Hotel – umi Hotels in 2007.
How did I manage to get here? What improved my employment opportunities?
I still run the umi Hotels brand, alongside another business umi™ Digital – a digital marketing agency for the Hospitality sector. At the end of last year, I started a part-time role in an educational business called Anglo Educational Services that host around 5000 students in the UK & Europe every year.
In my new part-time role at Anglo Educational Services, I have seen the other side of the internship world, and what a fantastic job both Anglo and many other companies do for young people.
As some of you may know, in my working life, post University, I have always made a commitment to offering young people employment opportunities with the umi Brand both in the Hotels and the Digital business.
Since May 2007, I have worked with over 200 young people coming from all around the world (as far as Australia!), often with great success, with fields ranging from hospitality to design, marketing and even computer science. Some have become team members, or brand ambassadors, but even more exciting, many have gone on to be really successful either as entrepreneurs or within the major they were studying.
I have only ever used a recruitment agent once (sorry recruitment agency friends !), which saved the business a lot of money over the years, and have often found that the new ideas and energy brought to the table by these young people have challenged and drove me forwards.
Umi Digital – Winner of the Rising Star Award 2014 at the British Youth Travel Awards
When I was at University, I found it really hard to find a placement that truly matched my ambitions. I had worked as an assistant manager in a restaurant in Central London in my Gap Year, so felt that I wanted a placement that would give me responsibility and a desire to grow. Back in 2001/2002, this was not so forthcoming, and “young” meant incapable of taking on responsibility in many cases.
One placement I completed, had me filing and making tea for a few weeks until I had to find something far more challenging. If I hadn’t worked in the industry before, then fair enough, but I was crying out to do something that challenged me and would let me develop specific skills and knowledge related to my future career in hospitality.
What I have noticed in my 6 weeks with Anglo, is that the internship opportunities for young people nowadays are amazing, no matter what level you are at or what course you are on. Whether it is finding a placement where you can learn, or one to enable you to grow and improve confidence, there is something for everyone.
From working in politics to creating logos in a design agency, or even learning a second language, there are diverse opportunities. From working in a big corporate organization, to assisting an SME or charity, there is something for everyone. I am envious in a way, as these opportunities weren’t there when I was at University.
Nevertheless, having had experience being an employer of interns, I am encouraged that so many organizations realize that giving people opportunities like this is not only valuable to the student, but also to the organization employing them.
One thing that a lot of people are told if they are rejected from a job interview is that they lacked the required experience. The response from the interviewee:
“How can I get experience if you won’t employ me?”
This is where an internship gives the graduate job seeker a step over their competition for the job, especially if the placement has resulted in increased confidence, knowledge and for those who have done the placement abroad, “worldliness”!
Class of 92 Partnership – Winners of the Class of ’92 fashion collection show at Hotel Football.
In a study published by Southwestern University in the Summer of 2014, those students who reported completing one internship during their time at Southwestern University were 13% more likely to find full-time employment over those who did not. In addition, as students participated in more internships, they improved their odds of receiving full-time employment. Powerful statistics, in my opinion, to support the concept that experience gained through an internship gives young people a better chance of achieving their career goals.
Well, I hope you found this interesting and if you have any thoughts, please do let me know.
If you are a business and you haven’t employed an intern, really think about it … it could do wonders for your business no matter what size you are. If you are a young person wanting to do something with yourself, think about doing an internship for a few months or even a year, and gain that confidence and knowledge of the real world.
Salford Business School offers a number of internship options for its students – see for example the Business Innovation Project for postgraduate students and student placements for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and MBA Live Projects for those on the MBA programmes.
What do you think about internships? Comment below or tweet me @stevelowy