Internship - Cathy's Story

Cathy studied film and television at the University of East Anglia and also did a post-graduate marketing degree. Her first internship was with a post-production company and her second was for a PR company that she now works for full-time.

At the time I left university many of my friends from my undergraduate degree had already been in the working world for a full year and they were struggling to find work. The creative industry is highly competitive and the best way in can often be through an internship so I decided to move to London to intern. Fortunately my family are in a position where they could help me out financially, but for others it is a lot tougher.

The first internship I did was with a post-production company. I was incredibly excited to become involved with the company as I have always been very passionate about films. I started the internship on the basis that I would be exposed to various aspects of post-production, and additionally the company was also involved in events organising, which I wanted to try. I was paid expenses for the day, which just about covered lunch and travel.

I then found myself sitting around Soho for three weeks, occasionally running to a production company, but predominantly spending most of my time looking for another job. There was no challenge, there was no excitement and I found myself packaging DVDs — hundreds of them! There is most certainly a culture where some employers will take advantage of interns, whether this is because they need someone to do the menial tasks and not be paid very much or they need someone who can make a quick exit I don’t know. It’s quite disheartening when you’ve spent a long time in education to leave and then not feel like you are learning anything of benefit.

I then moved on to intern for Sparkpr. The internship was fully paid and lasted three months. In this internship I was thrown in completely at the deep end and I thrived — I had to run before I could crawl and it was an incredible learning curve. I was fortunate in that the team was small so I was given a lot of responsibility. At the end of the internship in December 2011 I was offered a full time position as an account executive, and in September this year I was promoted to senior account executive.