If you have ever been on the tube during the rush hour, you know that London isn't just a tourist destination – it’s a city of workers, and therefore a great learning environment for vocational students. Our interns learn plenty of new skills from only a few weeks’ experience in British organisations, and the hosting companies, in turn, gain valuable assistance from enthusiastic students with different cultural backgrounds.
Sharon Healy is Personnel and Training Coordinator at WEXAS, a luxury travel company situated amid the hustle and bustle of London’s South Bank and one of ADC’s many partners when it comes to organising internships for European students. We spoke to her about curbing youth unemployment, introducing foreign interns to a London office and what the students tend to expect from their placements.
Tell us a bit about your company.
WEXAS is a UK travel company, specialising in tailor-made travel across all seven continents. We remain an independent, family owned business, committed to providing the highest level of personal service.
Why have you decided to take on interns?
We have welcomed students from ADC College since September last year and are pleased to be able to provide an opportunity for them to experience a snapshot of working in a busy travel company. We appreciate how difficult it is for students to secure employment in the UK and Europe and we are pleased to give them a chance to gain experience and hopefully learn new skills.
In what way has it benefitted your company?
The students have always proved helpful to their departments. Supporting our staff in everyday administrative tasks and customer data management, all our interns have so far been highly appreciated.
It has also given our staff the opportunity to develop their coaching and communication skills when spending time with the students.
What do you think the interns gain from the work placements?
Apart from our great location, we hope that our interns learn something from digital asset or data management and other administrative tasks. It’s also an opportunity to develop their English and get to know a busy office environment.
How do you introduce them to the office?
The students are met by the Manager or Supervisor of the department in which they’re based. They’re then given a tour of the office and introduced to their team. After that, they’re shown to their desk and given a welcome pack with information about the company and the office environment. The students are also briefed on their responsibilities and who they may contact if they have any questions or concerns.
What do you do if the students are nervous or afraid to speak English?
Sometimes the students can be very quiet in the beginning of their placement, but we encourage and support them so they feel like part of the team. We also ensure they understand what they’re doing and who to go to if they need help. It can be reassuring for the student be visited by their tutor and in the meantime, if we have any real concerns, we know we can always contact ADC.
Do you have any advice for London businesses interested in taking on European interns?
Sometimes it can be reassuring for the students if you’re able to accommodate two of them at a time. Their level of English is generally very good and all the students are keen to learn and contribute during their experience.
Do you have any advice for students preparing for their first day at work?
It can be helpful to have a look at the company’s website so as to be familiar with the nature of their business. Otherwise, just be enthusiastic, have a ‘can do’ attitude and enjoy the experience!
Is your London-based company looking to take on interns? Click here for more information on how to collaborate with us.