2012 Internships: insiders’ perspectives, issues and questions

Rachel Barton

The question of internships is an innovatory policy development within the University and in particular for the Business School. Using graduate internships as an example, the paper explores the use of critical reflection to consider the insights and tensions which can occur when graduates are brought into the University as interns. Critical reflection is defined here as a continuous process of sense-making. Sheffield Business School currently employs five graduate interns on six month fixed term contracts. These posts involve, four “project sponsors” and one mentor. In my capacity as intern mentor, I have sought to explore the dominant academic discourses surrounding employability and internships and the often unidentified assumptions underpinning them. The paper advocates that greater critical academic engagement is required, in for example, the processes of role development and consideration of the purpose and value of internships both at an institutional and individual level. Drawing on the perspectives of the participants and the academic literature, this paper seeks to raise issues and questions about the legitimacy of aspects of the assumptions underpinning the institutional rhetoric and practice surrounding internships generally and my role, position and practice in particular.

B4 – (FU43 and FU01) 11.50