Student reignites partnership with Skills Development Scotland

Thu, 30 Sep 2021 16:19:00 BST
Natalie is keen to return to SDS in the future
Natalie is keen to return to SDS in the future

A GCU student is reflecting back on the benefits of a summer internship, which reunited her with an organisation that supported her at a young age and opened her eyes to the world of work.  

Fourth year International Business and Human Resource Management student Natalie Lindsay spent eight weeks working from home with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) during July and August. 

SDS are Scotland’s national skills agency and provide career advice and work-based learning opportunities to people of all ages – something which Natalie personally benefitted from. 

We caught up with Natalie to hear about her experience with the organisation’s HR team and how her time with them has provided her with confidence in her future career beyond University 

How did you find out about this opportunity with SDS? 

“I’m care experienced, and the Care-Experienced team at GCU had mentioned in a newsletter that there were internships at SDS coming up and we were able to apply. It just so happened that there was an HR one and I thought it was perfect for me - I went straight for it!” 

What stood out to you about working at SDS? 

“I’ve always known about them as an organisation because they helped me when I was younger and going through some difficult times in my personal life. There was a careers adviser who was always there and I could talk to about anything. She actually pointed me down the administration route and I did that for a while before progressing onto HR.  

I had that really positive link with SDS and didn’t have anything negative to say about them. I knew they would be a good organisation to work with.” 

Why did you want to do this during your time at University? 

“I know that it’s a really competitive job market out there once you finish your degree – a lot of people are going to be aiming for Graduate roles. One of the main things employers are looking for is experience and it’s hard to already have that by the time you are leaving University. I also wanted some real exposure to my career path, so that I felt properly ready to go into work when I finished up at GCU. 

I actually think this will help me with my fourth year as well, because I can relate some of my experience to what I’m learning.” 

You were on the internship for eight weeks - what was involved in your specific role?

I was part of the HR team and basically worked as an assistant. I was dealing with the mailbox and processing leavers and new starts, while also sorting things like contract changes – anything and everything really!” 

How much did you enjoy the overall experience? 

“I absolutely loved it, it was honestly great! It went beyond my expectations because I was really just expecting to shadow someone and get a better understanding of their role. I then realised quite quickly that it was all about developing my skills and gaining the confidence to realise I was capable of doing this as a career.  

You even got a lovely “Thank You” card at the end of your internship with them 

“I got it on my last day and I wasn’t expecting it at all! I was actually getting a wee bit emotional about it because I genuinely felt like the team were great and it was just such a fab place to work. Even though I was working from home, everyone was so welcoming and really made me feel part of something. They’re just great people and I would love to return at some point in the future.” 

What would your message be to other students thinking of taking on an internship? 

“I would say 100% go for it! It’s so worthwhile and it’s not just the experience, there are also so many opportunities for you to network and everything that comes along with it. I’ve got to know so many different people and learn about different departments across such a big organisation.” 


By Ross Clark         
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