'Tis the Season to be an Intern

Posted on 14/06/2015

It's the time of year when our eyes turn towards the talent in the Design Schools at our Universities and Colleges. And hopefully the students' eyes turn to us.

There are a few basic principles we at Wolffe believe in on the subject of internships:

1/ It's a simbiotic relationship and don't forget it. The student needs the placement and the agency wants the students. The student wants to improve their career chances, and the agency gets an enthusiastic pair of hands for a couple of weeks.

2/ Work for nothing: it's probably illegal to say that, and the last thing I would suggest is you work anything more than 2 weeks for nowt. All the designers at Wolffe started doing a couple of weeks for free, there-after they were paid minimum wage, and if they stay even longer they get a full time contract; and bingo...there's your career started. For the first few days you will be like a rabbit in the headlights, by the end of week one you are starting to get comfortable with what's expected of you, by mid to end of the second week you will start to become a useful member of the team. Don't work for nothing after week two.

3/ Use your ears, eyes and nose: don't plug yourself into your earphones and stick your nose to your screen. You'll learn more using your ears and eyes than you'll ever learn at college. And as far as nose is concerned: I still have a sensory memory from my first placement at Tayburn 30 years ago. Freshly brewed coffee fills me with a hunger to do good work. Or maybe I'm a coffee addict!

4/ Follow up: once you have finished keep in touch. If you don't, chances are we'll forget about you. Worst thing we can say is 'leave me alone', best thing migfht be 'yes, come in and work for us again'.

5/ Big or small? What sort of agency do you want to work in? If you don't know, try both. There are pros and cons with both and unless you try you'll never know which you prefer.

That just about sums up our thinking on internships. Go on get in touch with your target agency, you might kick start your career.

Andrew Wolffe: March 2016