Kate and Afra’s journey from interns to peer assistants image

Kate and Afra’s journey from interns to peer assistants

Last summer, we took part in the Loughborough University Talent Match internship scheme, sponsored by Santander. We welcome three interns over the summer months, Afra, Kate and Bryanna.

Later on, we welcomed Afra and Kate as our new marketing and research peer assistants. The pair have written this blog to share their experience of being interns to peer assistants. Plus, their key learnings and messages for both young jobseekers and employers…

“Prior to starting my internship with Access Generation, I was an inexperienced young person who was keen to improve their confidence and commercial awareness. I was amazed at how quickly my confidence grew throughout the internship as I went from being someone who was petrified of public speaking to volunteering to present in webinars! During my internship I was offered some great opportunities and experiences that helped my professional growth. I also appreciated that my contributions to Access Generations work were valued.” – Kate

“Upon the completion of the internship, we were told by our manager, Jemma, about the new role of Marketing Research and Peer Assistant. We were both eager to apply as we knew that this would lead us to being part of a process of real change and professional development. 

The first blog I wrote during my internship at Access Generation ended with the quote: “now is the time for everyone to get comfortable with being in an uncomfortable position”. This quote was not only my message for employers instead it also became my motto throughout the internship. Managing the Gen @ Work programme has often put me in really challenging positions. Nevertheless, coworking with Kate allowed me to become comfortable in situations that I would usually try to prevent or avoid in order to grow and further my skills.” – Afra 

We have now worked as Peer Assistant’s for 5 months and are loving the experience. It is extremely rewarding being able to help the programme participants to develop their professional skills and see them grow throughout the training programme. 

Here are some of our key learnings and messages that we would like to share with young jobseekers and employers… 

Our key learnings for young jobseekers are:

  • Try not to be the barrier that is stopping you from gaining experience in the field you are interested in 
  • See yourself as a valuable asset worth your employer’s investment 
  • Your age does not define your knowledge, expertise and skills so have confidence in your ability. 

Our key messages for employers are: 

  • Remember the reason behind the opportunity you are providing for others
  • When working with “disadvantaged” groups you may add value to them before they can add value to you. This may result in the restructuring of the opportunity so be open to changes, stay resilient and keep focused on the end goal (you will get there)
  • It is crucial to be mindful of the barriers that may stop a young person from being able to give the opportunity 100% of their effort and time.  It is likely that you won’t be able to relate to their situation, however, that shouldn’t stop you from supporting them and helping them make the most out of the valuable experience that you are offering them.