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Why it's worth doing an internship

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As we go into October, I’m realising it’s not summer anymore. That also means that I’m coming to the end of my GCS internship, which began back in July.

I’ve learnt so much from the brilliant people at Companies House during the course of my internship. And I can wholeheartedly say that I feel more prepared than ever to enter the working world after I graduate.

You can find out more about the projects and tasks I’ve been involved in at Companies House in my last blog.

During the last 4 weeks, I’ve been conducting analyses, research and evaluation. Which is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds, believe me.

Getting stuck into excel

In my ninth week, I moved teams from external communications to internal communications.  In reality, this just meant moving to the next desk over, as we’re now ‘hot-desking’ as part of our smarter ways of working scheme. It also meant I could still go to curry club and grab any cakes on offer!

Imogen with the Companies House internal communications team.

With the internal team, I was given the task of carrying out evaluation of their communication channels. I was thrilled by the responsibility and freedom I had as I created my own evaluation strategy.

Using the knowledge gained from my time with the external communications team (and some relearning of Excel), I created several spreadsheets which told me the times of day people visit our channels and the types of content they enjoy reading or watching.

Did you know Companies House staff are most active at 8am on Tuesdays?

The highlight of the week was using the data to present a strategy to the team to help inform their future communications. This included when to post articles, blogs and videos to ensure they achieved the best reach across the organisation.

Changing our culture

My time with the team was briefly interrupted by a visit to the Intellectual Property Office. I spent the first half of the day with their internal communications team finding out about their channels and events like bring your kids to work day.

I spent the rest of the day shadowing their external communications team, joining Skype meetings with their regional offices and helping with other tasks.

When I came back to Companies House, I moved over to the Culture, People and Policy team who are part of our Transformation programme.

I was given the task of researching and analysing ways to measure culture change. This sounds pretty confusing, but with substantial research I created an action plan for evaluating the culture initiatives, like our Ideas Hub and culture change meetings.

I was intrigued to learn more about how transformation is being carried out, from flexible working hours to diversity networks, and seeing the success of this change. All these factors add up to making Companies House a great place to work.

I also attended the quarterly communications and policy forum, which featured a workshop on ‘emotional intelligence’. I learnt that I fall into the analytical personality type and found out how to be emotionally aware of others at work.

One highlight from this workshop was an activity with our director, Martin Swain, where I had to draw a film poster with nothing but a vague description from Martin.

Finishing my GCS internship

So, I guess this is it. In July, I remember being unsure about having to work all summer (even though I know I’ll have to one day). But I cannot believe how much I’ve learned in just 3 months.

As I’ve been asked recently:

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learnt here?

I have to say that would be awareness of government, both internally at Companies House and externally, as I engaged with stakeholders and understood more about the role of the Civil Service. This knowledge is invaluable and has made me certain I want to pursue a career in government.

But then I’ve also been asked:

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

Apart from waking up early every day, my biggest challenge was probably speaking in front of a large group of people for the internship project.

Public speaking is not one of my strengths. But using everything I’ve learnt about communication, I was able to face my fears and give a great presentation.

And finally:

“What have you enjoyed the most here?”

This one might be a bit sentimental. But meeting and getting to know the people working in the communications team has made every day over the summer enjoyable and rewarding. The support offered by the team, in particular my line manager Jocelyn Keedwell, has boosted my confidence and taught me how to communicate effectively.

If not, then it would be the thrill of seeing published content that I’ve written and helped to produce reaching thousands of people across the UK.

This is goodbye for now as I head back to university to finish my degree. But hopefully one day you’ll see me back at Companies House.

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