As part of the SME internship scheme, I was lucky enough to be offered a one-month Series Researcher position at True to Nature (TTN), a Bristol-based natural history production company. During my time at TTN I was asked to undertake a variety of research and production tasks for three episodes of an exciting new natural history TV series.
- exploration of wildlife behaviour
- season at which we would be able to film the wildlife
- development of story beats for several of our main animal characters.
The main reasons I wanted to take part in this internship were, firstly, to gain some hands-on experience at an independent natural history production company, and secondly, to network with professionals in the industry to gain insight into their line of work.
This leads me on to the advice I would give anybody thinking of applying for an SME internship: take this opportunity with both hands and throw yourself at it, 100%. I have learned to disseminate scientific research in a creative manner, developing science into stories, and engaging the public with natural history. This internship has given me a foot in the door in an industry notoriously difficult to break into. It has given me invaluable experience and contacts that I will continue to use throughout my career.
As with any job, there will be challenges. However, this is where you learn and develop both professionally and as a person. Take these challenges in your stride. For example, during this internship I was asked to explore the behaviour of African termites (a process I’m very familiar with: animal behaviour), then create a story beat and present this to the series producer (something I’ve never done before). I found this task challenging, but extremely fulfilling and useful for my career development.
All in all, my advice to anybody interested in taking part in an SME Internship would be to think about an area, profession, or sector that they are truly inspired or excited about and tailor this internship to those needs. Once you’ve found a position you believe will help to develop both your professional and personal portfolio, take the time to formulate an honest and memorable cover letter – let your potential employer hear the real you! If you’re lucky enough to be offered the position, take the time to get to know your colleagues. Oh, and make them some cakes to say thanks for the opportunity – that seemed to go down a treat!
Interested in applying?
The SME Internship Scheme is open and we are advertising internship opportunities through mycareer.
There are many other paid work experience opportunities listed here.
If you’re struggling with writing applications, you’ll find some useful resources and events here to help.
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