How valuable is your internship?


Our guest contributor, Gemma Farquharson, writes about the true value of internships.

Grace Golding talks about her experience interning at the Paul Smith showroom in London during her first year as a fashion design student at Birmingham University.

…But was it worth it? (Paul Smith on interns-

One of my main concerns with internships is that even though internships are not paid and you wind up serving coffee and running errands, how can you measure the value of an internship?

1. Does it lead to anything?

(The devil doesn’t wear Paul Smith-

“[My internship with Paul Smith] will further me with my career. I can put it on my resume, and I will have an advantage over other candidates while I apply for other jobs in the future,” says Grace.

I, among many others, often fear that we embark upon internships that only lead to a dead-end. However, Grace makes a strong point that work experience (paid or unpaid) still gives you something over the competition. “I would 100% recommend doing an internship to anyone wanting to be in fashion. Although my course does not instruct me to do a work placement, I noticed that other [programs] do, which is why I feel it is important to keep up with my competition early.”

2. Self-Discovery

“I believe [the internship] has not only made me more aware of what is behind the scenes of a fashion brand, but has also made me 100% sure that I want to pursue a career in design rather than buying and marketing.”

Whether it’s learning who you are as a worker or knowing which field of fashion that you want to be working in, your internships should help you along your journey of self-discovery.

3. What skills did you learn?

Grace states “I learned the processes of the last stage of fashion marketing and selling the brand correctly. I also learned how to work efficiently and quickly as part of a busy team and worked to meet deadlines well. It has boosted my confidence as I believed I was able carry out tasks to my highest of ability… it has taught me the in’s and out’s of the behind-the-scenes in a fashion house which is an extremely valuable experience.”

“I found that I was able to fit in well with the team and my confidence with clients built up over the two weeks as well. I felt very comfortable knowing my way around the showroom and was intelligible about the brand.”

Internships are a fantastic way of gaining experience and invaluable skills in your specialism and figuring out which career you want to pursue. I am not entirely sure that I can ever fully support unpaid internships, but if they provide a platform for such hardworking and extremely motivated students such as Grace, they sound like a winner to me.

written by Gemma Farquharson, Guest Contributor

edited by Tiffany Ouyang, Editor



Gemma (based in London) will graduate with a degree in English Language and Literature in September 2012 with a specialization in Creative Writing. With a passion for writing and fashion, Gemma is now freelancing with a long term goal of becoming an editor and getting her novel published.

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