career

"I was an intern at Mamamia and will defend unpaid internships from the bottom of my heart."

Mamamia was not my first unpaid internship. And it will not be my last.

I am writing this today to tell you about the amazing benefits that come with internships. Because, while I have been an intern twice (and hopefully will be an intern many more times in the future) I have never been in a position to hire unpaid interns. This is important because I cannot possibly be accused of defending internships as a weak excuse for free labour.

Internships are anything but that. In fact, we should be praising from the rooftops, every company and business that allocates time and resources to training, guiding and nurturing young industry professionals.

Watch Mia Freedman explain how the Mamamia internship program works and why you should work for free. (Post continues after video.)

I started interning fresh out of high school; before I had even hit the uni books, I was up and at it looking for an internship. I wanted to get out there, start doing things, meeting people, learning about my industry. These are just some of the innumerable benefits that come with being an intern; it’s almost like someone giving you a chance to rehearse for the real world.

Through the internships I have done, I have met my idols. My career heroes. The women I looked up to before I was a woman myself. These women have been everything I hoped they would be; not only did they value the work I did, but they welcomed my input and feedback into the business and the internship itself. Was I enjoying myself? What did I want to get out of it? Was I achieving everything I wanted to achieve? The answers were yes, to breathe your air and yes; the guidance, feedback and encouragement from the professionals I have encountered has been invaluable.

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"I have met my idols; the women I looked up to." Image: supplied.

Beyond the amazing guidance that is afforded to interns, there are also amazing networking opportunities; being active in the day to day happenings of office life will lead you to meet some amazing people. In fact, I used connections from my first internship, to then get my second internship.

You get more than guidance and contacts though; you get to learn about the industry you may potentially be entering, and whether you love it or not. Undertaking multiple internships means that you can effectively ‘try out’ your industry; see if you like it or not before you spend an exorbitant amount of money on your uni course. And if you don’t like it, you try something else; this is probably the most informing aspect of a good internship.

Check out what the interns and Mamamia team get up to in our offices. (Post continues after gallery.)

So I will stand up in defense of unpaid internships until my fingers are worn to bone from typing and my voice box has grown legs and left the building. They are an invaluable experience and every student should be actively encouraged to undertake as many as possible.

Tags: current-affairs , gallery , lifestyle , media , women
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