What would it be like to do work experience abroad? We asked Aisling Callan, the Programme Manager for Undergraduate and Professional programmes at IBAT College in Dublin, Ireland. ADC College collaborate with IBAT College on the Internship Programme, an Erasmus+ funded initiative that makes it possible for vocational students in Europe to do work experience abroad. 

Aisling is the first point of contact for students who enrol at IBAT college and she is our main point of contact too, ensuring our interns feel welcome and helping out with any queries they might have. She has been with the college since October last year and is thoroughly enjoying her social and multifaceted job. We asked about her experience with interns and what exactly it is that they gain from working at IBAT college.

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Tell us a bit about IBAT College.

IBAT College Dublin is Ireland's leading industry focused third level institution. We provide courses for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate in a range of subject areas including Business, Digital Marketing, Computing and ICT, Sports Management, Tourism and English Language.

Why have you decided to take on European students for work experience?

Well for one, it is a great way to get some extra help around the office, especially during our more busy periods! I believe internships are a great learning opportunity for all involved. There are new ideas, a fresh perspective. It enhances everyone’s experience. We are a fairly diverse team already and it great to meet students from all over Europe. I also speak from personal experience, as I completed an internship around six years ago and it really got me started off in the world of education and academics.

What kind of work do the students do?

Students work in different departments within the college such as higher education, admissions, the English language school and the library. The work entails data entry, filing, photocopying, proof reading and general administration tasks. The students who have interned here have assisted in a graduation ceremony, learned how to catalogue books in the library and compiled statistics from data gathered in the college.

Our interns gain first hand experience in the day-to-day operations of an organisation. From working in different departments and the tasks they are given, they learn how each department functions and how each task contributes to the running of the college and how important team work and communication is across the entire organisation.

In what way has it benefitted the college? 

I believe everyone in the college agrees that it is great that we are recognised as a place where interns want to come and learn. So far our experience with each intern has been extremely positive and each intern appears to have enjoyed their time here and taken something away from it - as have we.

What do you think the students gain from doing work experience at the college?

I can guarantee that students gain first hand experience in the day-to-day operations of an organisation. From working in different departments and the tasks they are given, they learn how each department functions and how each task contributes to the running of the college and how important team work and communication is across the entire organisation.

What makes a great intern? Do you have any examples?

All the interns we have had on work experience here in the college have been great, each one has been so helpful and friendly within the office. A general openness to learning is the key trait of all the interns we have had here.

What are the most common obstacles in your field of work?

Ensuring that the students at the college are happy. With the amount of students we take on, I find that it can be difficult to make choices, as you can’t keep everybody happy. Exam dates and assignment deadlines as each student has something in their personal life whether it being spending time with families or working and trying to study full time too.   

Do you have any advice for students preparing for their first day at work? 

There is no such thing as a silly question! It is one of the best ways to learn. But most importantly - enjoy your time at work.

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