By Nick Smith
Go to university, graduate, get a job; the plan was pretty simple. However, after nearly a year graduated and having seemingly devoted the last six months of my life to the joys of unreturned emails and if lucky, the occasional ‘out of office’ auto reply, I realised it was time for a change of approach. Out with traditional, paid employment, and in with the unspoken, elephant in the room – an unpaid internship.
As a Business and Management graduate, I had taken an interest in advertising and marketing, but given little consideration to Public Relations – after all, what really was PR? How did it differ to a business’ other promotional functions? Did Freddie Starr really eat the hamster? Having realised that I needed to broaden my experiences and get a feel for my career preferences in the real world, I widened my search to incorporate PR agencies. Through a combination of luck and (a bit of) skill, I came upon Prova. After a brief flurry of emails, a couple of phone calls and an interview with Sarah, office manager, I was excited to finally undertake purposeful work experience in a real, bona-fide workplace.
Having expected my first tasks to be photocopying and running various intern-esque errands, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself sat at a proper desk and being seconded almost immediately, getting involved with the latest campaign to be launched from Prova HQ – Wanzl’s ‘Trolleywise’ initiative. Throughout my time I assisted with the well established and revered Triumph Young Guns scheme in its 2013 guise, helped compile research on Varta batteries’ exposure levels in trade publications, and aided the gathering of important media exposure data from various sources for a multitude of campaigns. An interest in the business development arm of Prova afforded the opportunity to work with Jane, head of New Business Development, and the chance to participate in her deep level research into EU and UK legislation, to identify the potential new opportunities and threats in the automotive, hi-tech and environmental sectors.
The real difference to other work experiences I have undertaken before is that of inclusion – Prova make you feel part of the team. Whether a celebration, team meeting or a magazine inscribed with your initials on the front cover, you are made to feel welcome, your opinion valued. The confidence gained by re-affirming the belief in one’s ability is almost immeasurable – ‘the Prova effect’. Not only is the work engaging, but the people too are fantastic – everyone a unique character. Indeed, ‘the Prova effect’ played an important role in my successful interview for a full-time position in marketing elsewhere.
My time here has been nothing short of fantastic, so thanks go to everyone for their contributions to my experience. Advice for prospective interns? That would be to remember tea – milk, no sugar.