Our Senior Partnerships Manager, Susheel Padda, shares her perspective on the value of internships for both our Candidates and the corporate partners who host them. 

susheel sharma

Many of you have only known me in my role as Senior Partnerships Manager, however prior to leading on The Brokerage’s partnerships strategy I was a Programme Manager working directly with our young people and I was responsible for running our summer internship programme. 

I want to tell you one of my favourite stories of an inspiring young intern during my time overseeing the internships.

Sam* attended a registration session I was hosting and instantly I could tell that he was driven, ambitious and wanted to succeed, he just needed some support in meeting potential employers. Very soon after registering, Sam started applying for internships and was successful in getting through to the assessment centre round of interviews for a large insurance firm. 

On the day of the assessment centre, which I was there to help deliver, Sam walked into the building and was wearing acid washed jeans and Nike Air Max trainers with a shirt and tie. It dawned on me that maybe Sam had never been advised on what to wear to a formal interview? Without having been in that environment before, how would he know? 

After the assessment centre finished, I was responsible for giving feedback to the unsuccessful candidates, one of whom was Sam. It was at that point I had to inform him that although he had all the drive and ambition, he hadn’t performed as well as his peers in the assessment centre and that his attire was also a deciding factor for the assessors in declining to take his application further.

However, after this initial setback Sam continued applying for internship roles, applying for over five in total that summer, until he successfully secured one at a small underwriting firm. He impressed his employers so much that he was nominated for the Intern of the Year award and was announced as winner at our annual graduation celebration that year. 

I then found out that his internship experience had successfully helped him to secure a permanent apprenticeship role at one of the UK’s largest high street banks. 

Since that day and the remarkable turnaround that Sam had from first walking into that assessment centre to where he is now, if I didn’t believe it before, I definitely do now, that ambition and drive are key factors that firms should be looking at to get more diverse young talent over their thresholds. Whilst The Brokerage wants to ensure that our candidates are aware of certain corporate etiquettes such as general dress codes, we do not believe they should have to change their innate selves in order to secure roles or be successful in their chosen careers. Organisations should also be required to understand that skill, drive and ambition come in different forms, and this is not always the ‘polished’ image that society has pushed forward as the ‘model’ employee.  

A fantastic way to meet this diverse, driven young talent is to open your firm up to hosting The Brokerage’s Candidates as summer interns. These internships have often proven to be very effective ways to open up your talent pipeline for your entry level programmes, including graduate and apprenticeship schemes. Furthermore, you also benefit from an extra member of the team and someone who can bring fresh energy and perspective to your organisation. Feel free to contact me, susheel.padda@thebrokerage.org.uk or our Partnerships Manager, katie.randall@thebrokerage.org.uk to find out more about hosting an intern as part of your partnership with us. 

*candidate has been anonymised

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