What’s it like being a Graduate Intern at SHU?


Tara and Lucy, two of the four Graduate Interns in the Development and Society Faculty, have written about their roles in the faculty and their future plans.

As a team of graduate interns we work mainly on process improvement in the faculty.

Tara – I completed a degree in BSc Psychology and I decided to apply for this job because I had done a placement at the University in HR and really enjoyed it so was looking to work here. I wanted experience doing varied types of work (project work) using my transferable skills from Psychology. In my final year I was having meetings with Careers and Employability Advisors who were helping me with my CV and application forms and I found this job on a newsletter they sent out.

The interview process was demanding but I drew on the Careers Centre for practice interviews and assessment centre advice. I also had a career mentor at the time who read through my application form and supported me through the process. My advice would be to use your contacts and experiences to prepare.

This job has helped me find out what I want to do. I am now looking for work as a Business Analyst which involves process improvement.

Lucy – I studied BA (Hon) Sociology, graduating last year. I was attracted to the graduate internship here at SHU because of the participation that I previously had within the University. I was a course rep and the idea of enacting change within the institution is something that I found really enjoyable. During my final year I thought about a career in education but on leaving university I knew I needed more ‘on the job’ training, an internship such as this offered me the skills and an insight into this area. The job has offered a great working experience, giving an in depth overview of how a University functions, offering great new opportunities.

I would describe the interview process as challenging, but an invaluable experience. I also used the Careers and Employability Advisors in my department who read through my application form prior to submission and offered practise interviews. My advice would be to practise, practise, practise!

I am involved in interesting, varied work, with supportive managers. The job has enabled me to realise that I would like a career in Higher Education, which involves project work.

Some of the tasks we have been asked to do this year are:

  • Make a guide for administration staff to understand the process of mobility (sending and receiving students to/from other countries)
  • Improve the process of postponing classes (what happens when an academic calls in sick/ unable to attend a session) and the DBS process for Education students
  • Analyse the NSS results by department in D&S
  • Work in the student rep process management group to make decisions on the rep process, facilitating and designing training and trying to improve engagement with it.
  • Organise a staff wellbeing event and wellbeing scheme to increase staff volunteering.
  • Analyse student withdrawals to identify demographics of students who withdraw and action plan how students could be supported more.

Some of the challenges we have faced:

  • Unexpected and tight deadlines which involved good time management and the ability to reprioritise.
  • Communication with stakeholders and customers
  • Learning how to write in a business style instead of academic style
  • Implementation of new strategies / action plans

by Tara Seipel and Lucy Shanks

Being a Graduate Intern at Sheffield Hallam


By Emma Burkinshaw

After hours of writing applications, days and evenings full of job search and a hand-full of unsuccessful interviews, I was finally successful and gained a role as a Graduate Intern at Sheffield Hallam University. To say I was surprised is an understatement as I had fallen trap of the ‘I’ll never get a job!’ way of thinking! Finally, months of job search, applications and interview preparation had paid off and I couldn’t wait to get involved in what sounded like a fantastic opportunity in a great institution. After months of unemployment, I couldn’t have been more ready to get back into a routine, challenge my brain and earn money, helping me finally stand on my own two feet after three years of University.


I am based in the (very large) Careers and Employability team and most of the first couple of weeks involved meeting colleagues, finding out what they did and where they fitted in with the various services on offer. I must admit those first couple of weeks involved trying to absorb A LOT of information and remember countless names and faces – however every single person I met greeted me with a warm smile and insisted I shouldn’t worry about remembering everything – for the mean time anyway!

So, the first weeks were over and after a very indulgent Christmas break, I was back in the office – eager to get stuck in.¬† My first main work load came from ‘Career Impact’ – a programme comprising of advice and information for a diverse group of highly motivated students looking to apply for placements or graduate opportunities. I was encouraged to get as involved as possible from the word go and was soon one of the main contacts for any queries regarding the programme. Something I particularly enjoyed while working on this project was attending a celebration event, where I was able to speak to participants of the programme and really gain an insight into how helpful they had found it.

Another of my main duties involves working on the Careers and Employability Centre Help Desk, which is a really diverse area of work and one that I sometimes find quite challenging. Every day is different and to start with it feels as though every query is too! This is a great experience as it puts me out of my comfort zone by requiring an on the spot response, however, moving out of your comfort zone is never easy.

In the near future I have plenty of things to look forward to, including being a part of practice interviews for students, creating and maintaining a Careers and Employability Instagram account and getting involved in some of the many fairs and events run by the team.

A couple of months in and I’m over the moon that that¬†interview panned out!