Get experience in engineering with an internship
Gaining industry experience is essential for engineering students. An internship allows you to employ the skills you’ve been taught in a practical, working environment and will prepare you for what to expect from a position in the industry. It also shows you have commitment and will make you more attractive to potential employers.
An internship will help you decide on the specific role you wish to seek in the engineering sector, and which area suits you best. It provides opportunities to network with industry professionals who can give you insights into the topics covered in your college course. Many engineering degrees will offer work placement, sometimes as an additional year. If yours doesn’t provide a placement, seek one out yourself. Opportunities for internships can be found through your college’s careers service, on company websites, and on gradireland.com’s company profiles and work experience sections. If you display genuine enthusiasm, friendliness and pleasant persistence, opportunities will present themselves
Why take an internship?
An internship allows you to get a feel for your future career before committing to a permanent position. It offers a chance to decide on the specific role you wish to pursue and the type of company you want to work for. Performing well on your placement can catch the attention of potential employers. Many graduate employers hire students who impress during placements, and they may even sponsor you for further study. Your employer may offer you a position on completion of your internship. If you haven’t completed your degree you may be fast-tracked through the selection process for a graduate programme. Even if your internship doesn’t lead directly to employment, you will have acquired valuable skills.
Summer and year-long internships can set deadlines as early as December, with most ending in February. Throughout the year you can find internships on gradireland.com. Some employers may advertise ‘open deadlines’ or extend their deadlines due to a lack of applications, but it's wise to get your application in as early as possible.
Start on the front foot
At the beginning of your internship you may feel nervous in an unfamiliar environment. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your placement:
- Be polite and punctual
- Show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn by asking questions
- Take notes so you don’t have to ask for a second explanation
- Be aware of any dress code and dress appropriately
- Accept any criticism you may receive and use it as an opportunity to learn and improve
- Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for feedback
- At the end of your internship, ask for a reference from your employer and keep in touch; maintaining a positive relationship could lead to further opportunities.