During my second year, I was fortunate to participate in not one, but two internships with ARU, enabling me to enhance my professional development skills. I now feel confident to use these qualities going into the final year of my Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) degree.
Each internship had a different focus, gifting me with a variety of skills and experiences. Completing an internship in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) broadened my knowledge of this area, which will fundamentally help me when studying Early Childhood and when working in placement. This internship had a team approach as I worked with numerous individuals and departments, in order to rewrite and reform ARU campuses for SEND students.
In addition, completing a Research Internship with the Faculty of HEMS allowed me to improve my research skills and learn more about my faculty and student views. This internship gave me a chance to conduct my own research based on student’s portfolios and dissertations. Analysing student’s work has helped me gain an understanding of the academic expectations, as I emerge into my final year and prepare to write my Undergraduate Major Project.
Both internships have brought me many benefits:
1. Improved communication skills
Communication has been a quality that I have wanted to develop, and the internships have definitely helped me work on this skill. I have presented and lead sessions to students and staff both on campus and virtually. I now feel confident to present and share my ideas to others.
2. Enhanced knowledge
My knowledge in both subject areas has improved. From attending a training session about SEND, I can embed this into my degree, writing and placement. Having an increased awareness about this subject enables me to share this with a wider audience, which I demonstrated through hosting my own training session to student ambassadors. Similarly, through my Research Internship, I have an improved knowledge on creativity in Early Years and how this impacts staff and children in setting. My knowledge has expanded as I have also been taught how to conduct and write a literature review from my collected data.
3. Relevant employability skills
Both internships have supported me with my career ambitions. It is through completing them that I have an awareness of the available roles within Higher Education. During my internship, I have liaised with different professionals at ARU, who have taught me about opportunities and roles that will further benefit my career and CV.
4. Growth in confidence and determination
Finally, through engaging in these wonderful opportunities at the university, my confidence has flourished. The internships have enabled me to develop personally on my skills, such as problem solving and communication. My colleagues have definitely taught me to believe in myself and as a result, it has made me determined to make a difference. With my knowledge and confidence, I am keen to support students and share with them what I have learnt over a very beneficial summer.