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Graduate Internships, a charity's perspective

A group of young adults with autism with a CareTrade volunteer

The autism charity CareTrade hired a Graduate Intern and found an employee, we find out why an internship was the perfect solution for their needs

LSBU’s Graduate Internship Programme matches current students or recent graduates to organisations looking for a specific skillset to join them on a short-term basis. The students gain invaluable experience, while the organisation benefits from the latest thinking, a fresh look at their processes and procedures, and the enthusiasm and professionalism that LSBU graduates are well known for.

The low cost solution to a skill gap

CareTrade, an autism charity that specialises in creating opportunities for young Londoners with autism, had a specific need for an intern. However, without the funds to hire anyone, or the skills available through any of their volunteering team, they turned to the Graduate Internship Programme for help.

“The advantages for us were that the intern was paid by LSBU and would have the skills we needed,” says Development Director Judith Kerem. “LSBU took care of all the preliminary recruitment issues, which saved us a lot of time and money, so we ended up looking through three CVs and needed to carry out only one interview. The process was very easy, and not at all time-consuming.”

“Having the right person in the role at no financial cost to us was invaluable, and allowed us to see what we needed as a team.”

CareTrade

Choosing the right person

CareTrade hired the intern that LSBU had identified as the best match for them, Sarah Chohan, and Judith feels that it was an excellent appointment. “Sarah was enthusiastic and eager to learn,” she says. “She was keen to go on training suggested both by us and LSBU, and even looked for training opportunities under her own initiative. She updated our website and LinkedIn page, and regularly tweeted for us and posted to our Facebook page.”

As a small team, Sarah’s attitude and skillset were well-received by CareTrade, and was instrumental in what became a very successful relationship. “Getting things off the ground really helped us, and has given us a platform for development,” elaborates Judith. “We gained from her knowledge, especially in social media, and the fresh way she looked at what we were doing.”

From intern to employee

Indeed, Sarah’s spell with CareTrade – during which she helped to improve the website and set up targeted mailing lists – was such a success that the charity secured funding to pay for her to stay on. “Keeping Sarah for an extra year was a big help, and moved things on again,” says Judith. “She’s been fantastic, and created databases that we are still using, and improved the website even further with new sections and regular updates. It means we can direct more people to the website safe in the knowledge that they will find what they need.”

The benefits of an intern

Judith and CareTrade are considering taking on another intern through the scheme, and are quick to recommend other organisations do the same. “We have really benefitted from Sarah’s knowledge, while she gained skills in working in an office environment, following rules and procedures, working independently, and managing her time,” says Judith. “Having the right person in the role at no financial cost to us was invaluable, and allowed us to see what we needed as a team.”

If you would like to work with an LSBU graduate intern, complete this application form by 30 September 2016.

 
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