QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 76 - Page 9

to fill an urgent need by offering vital skills development opportunities to a new generation of students. “This is partnership working at its best. By delivering a robust internship programme supported by universities and voluntary organisations, we are witnessing successful knowledge exchange, outstanding opportunities for both students and sector organisations and a positive impact on communities. It’s a wi nning combination.” In the light of recent discussions about the increased use of unpaid interns across a range of sectors, TSIS Co-Director Martha Caddell from The Open University in Scotland is keen to point out that students on the Third Sector Internships Scotland programme are paid a Living Wage. “It is only fair that students are rewarded for their valuable contribution with pay which reflects the work done. This helps to relieve financial stress and reflects the intention of the internship programme to provide high quality internships that have open and fair recruitment processes.” Following its initial success, the challenge is now to achieve the sustainability of the project. Martha Caddell continued: “The first internship for an organisation is fully funded and supported, so there has been a lot of interest from employers. Organisations keen to take on further interns are asked to provide a proportion of the intern’s salary costs. The value to the organisations, and the communities they work with, can be significant. An intern’s work can lead to the implementation of new projects, fundraising or research and development work which will really help the organisation move forward with its work.” One organisation which has already benefited from the project is the Befriending Network. They note that: “This initiative is a really exciting development for the voluntary sector as well as for the interns. In the long term it can only lead to a better understanding of the role of the third sector as these students move into the wider world of employment. It can also help to re-direct their career aspirations by opening their eyes to new possibilities.” QMU’s Fiona Boyle concluded: “The strength of the TSIS project goes beyond improving employability. Often the impact of specific pieces of work carried out by students results in lasting positive change - it empowers them to leave a legacy. It also encourages the students, and therefore a new generation, to develop a commitment to the third sector which has a positive effect on individuals, the community and society as a whole.” ❒ Life-changing Saltire Scholarships open up a new world of opportunities O VER THE SUMMER two QMU students took part in life-changing scholarship programmes which provided them with the opportunity to work abroad with some of the world’s most influential business leaders. The two students, who successfully secured internships with the 2012 Saltire Scholarship programme, benefited from outstanding work experience opportunities in the USA and the United Arab Emirates. Rebecca Irving, a Psychology and Sociology student, and Shereen Fazeli, an Events Management student, were the first QMU students to gain Saltire Scholarships. These high-calibre placements challenge Scotland’s top students to develop their own skills while working on projects of real significance to their host companies. Not only does the Saltire Foundation organise and fully fund the programmes, they assist students in accessing, networking and learning from some of the world’s top business people. Rebecca undertook a development focused internship with Gallus BioPharmaceuticals in St Louis, USA, while Shereen specialised in events management with Grand Hyatt in Dubai. Both students not only experienced working life abroad, they were encouraged to immerse themselves in the culture of the country. While not engaged in work, Rebecca experienced the 4th of July celebrations, the Fair St. Louis party, her first baseball game, a torch-lit trip through a museum and volunteering at the city’s stray dog centre. At the office, she conducted focus groups, took part in interviews with senior staff, carried out projects and made recommendations to the Board of Directors. She wrote in her blog: “The Saltire Scholarships really is the best experience I have ever had! All of what I have learned over the past three years at university is being put into practice, in both my everyday world and the business world, so I am leaning more than I ever thought I would. This trip is a psychologist’s and sociologist’s dream!” Having been initially daunted by the challenge of working at Gallus, she said: “The feedback I have received has been flattering and builds my confidence every day, to the point where I know now that I can do this, and not only here in the USA, but next year when I have graduated. My success is all up to me.” With access to all management meetings, Shereen Fazeli greatly benefited from seeing how the Grand Hyatt creates an event from start to finish by gaining an insight into each detailed step of the event management process. During her internship she was involved in a graduation ceremony as well as traditional celebratory events for Ramadan. Outside work Shereen sampled some of the delights of the Middle East when she had high tea at the seven star The Saltire Scholarships really is the best experience I have ever had! All of what I have learned over the past three years at university is being put into practice Burj Al Arab hotel and visited the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Professor Petra Wend, QMU's Principal, said: “Saltire Scholarships provide students with global business experience. It is rewarding to see students creating their own goals, rising to the challenges set by these high profile businesses, gaining exposure to high level decision making and being able to offer their own solutions to business issues. There is no doubt that the skills, knowledge and life experience gained during these scholarships gives students a competitive advantage when entering the jobs market.” Professor Wend continued: “QMU is committed to enhancing the student experience. We have now become a Saltire Foundation University Partner which should open up more world- class placement and networking opportunities for future QMU students.” ❒ If you would like more information on how you can support student scholarships or travel opportunities for students at QMU, please visit W: qmu.ac.uk/donate or contact Raquel Carbo on T: 0131 474 0000. QMYOU / Student Internships 9