You can’t put a price on internship experience, particularly when it inspires you!

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Throughout my degree, I developed a strong interest in community engagement and social responsibility. It’s a growing area and there’s so many different ways for an organisation to develop a corporate social responsibility strategy and earning a social licence to operate. I became intrigued and quite curious to find out what it is like to work within the Community Engagement space. If you keep reading, you’ll see brilliant responses below from Miss. Salam Hasanein, who is a Community and Stakeholder Coordinator at Broadspectrum!

 
But first, I need to share a little background detail about the internship…
The scholarly articles can only tell you so much, so I needed to find a way to gain experience. I’ll cut it short, I dropped a second-year theory-based unit to take on another internship unit. My academic supervisor helped me to find an internship and encouraged me to apply for a Communications Internship with Broadspectrum. I sent through my application and went through the interview process and managed to get it! I knew this would be the beginning of something exciting…

 
Interning as a Communications Intern was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. My mentor gave me the opportunity to work through a variety of different tasks such as Good News Stories, Media Statements and also speech documents. I was also placed next to my mentor who is a Community and Stakeholder Coordinator at Broadspectrum.

 
Throughout my time, I had the chance to learn about Broadspectrum’s Community Engagement and Indigenous Participation function. The more I researched the organisation, the more connections I could make between theoretical knowledge of community engagement, CSR and real-world contexts. Not every organisation will focus on the same initiatives, so based on my internship experience I believe it is important to understand what an organisation values and what type of projects/causes/programs it wishes to engage in. For example, Broadspectrum’s commitment to Indigenous people which is clearly reflected in the company’s Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) demonstrates its strong ongoing commitment towards helping Indigenous communities. Furthermore, the Students@Work program highlights the commitment the business has towards providing opportunities to local youth by engaging with young people and showing them possible future career opportunities at Broadspectrum.

 
I was interested to find out about my mentor’s career path and she agreed to an interview! Even though I asked Salam questions about her role throughout my time interning, you can never know enough! Salam has been in her current role for a bit over 3 years. Interviewing Salam gave me the opportunity to find out more about her role, her perspectives and advice she would give to someone interested to work within the communications industry:

 
Why did you choose to work at Broadspectrum?
“I really wanted the experience. I love that it is such a large company that operates in so many regions, and looks after so many industries and clients. If I look at it from a communications point-of-view it’s very exciting because my job is not repetitive, I’m facing different challenges and tasks every day. For me, this really suits my personality because I don’t like doing the same thing every day.”

 
What are the most rewarding parts to your job?
“The diversity I have in terms of my role. I’m not just working on one thing, I’m working on multiple things. I enjoy working with different clients, people, customers and stakeholders. The pleasant nature of everyone in the office, everyone is friendly and I get along with pretty much everyone and my team is amazing!”

 
When did you develop an interest in community engagement? Has it always interested you?
“I did volunteer work, and all the volunteer work happened to be for organisations that do work with local communities. I value the importance of integration and a sense of community and giving people opportunities. I think that’s where the passion and the interest comes from.”

 
How do you define Community?
“Some of the key terms that come to my mind when I think of the word community are inclusion and diversity. Diversity in a sense that there’s different nationalities, races, religions and cultural beliefs. Inclusive in a sense that, it’s an inclusive community that represents people from all different walks of life.”

 
What attributes /personal qualities do you believe contribute to success in this field?
“Just being enthusiastic, positive, and not being afraid of a challenge. Being passionate about what you do, open and honest. Also, a willingness to be thrown into the unknown.”

 
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in this field?
“Don’t just depend on internships, do as much volunteering as you can, and keep volunteering even after you get a job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because people in the industry just want to help.”

 
My internship at Broadspectrum and the interview with Salam inspires me to look for work and volunteer opportunities which are community focused.

 
My internship finished on a really high note. I travelled up to Puckapunyal to see one of Broadspectrum’s Students@Work Programs in action! A few weeks before the program, I had the chance to write a Media Statement.

 
At University, I was taught how to write a media release and it was great to write one for this project. While every organisation has its own style and writing guidelines, I enjoyed developing an understanding of Broadspectrum’s media release style/format, which was different to what I had expected. For example, the organisation do not add an image into the press release, something which I was required to do at a different organisation. So just the little things like that are still very interesting and I believe it is good to get that experience.

 

 

It’s great to see how the theoretical knowledge and practical learning are connected. All of the tasks undertaken were related to my degree and gave me a real opportunity to put what I learnt at University into practice. In terms of where my career is heading, this internship has inspired me to further explore the Community Engagement space.
You can’t put a price on internship experience, particularly when it inspires you!

 
Thanks for reading.

 
Over and out!
Tara

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