The main benefits to internships are experiencing working as part of a team, developing professional relationships within the organisation and making external contacts. Working hard will make a good impression and leaving with a great reference will be invaluable when looking for your next job.
An internship is an opportunity to apply your academic knowledge to the real world. You will develop employability skills by working on real projects for a real organisation and it will also give you the interpersonal skills that you need to work effectively with others — and confidence in your own abilities.
Sarah Marshall, age 22 from Kilmarnock, started a Hospitality Internship at Ayrshire College’s training restaurant Salt and Barrel in the Kilmarnock Campus in November, right before the busy festive period.
Sarah tells us about her typical day and what it’s like to be the new Hospitality Intern at Ayrshire College.
When I was at school I always knew I wanted a career in the hospitality industry. I left school to go to Ayrshire College to study NC Hospitality, then progressed to HNC and HND Hospitality Management. I was really pleased that I got all A’s as the standard is extremely high in the hospitality department at the College.
From there I went straight onto the third year at university to do a management course. Luckily a friend pointed out that the intern position had come up at the College, working specifically with the new training restaurant at the Kilmarnock campus, Salt and Barrel, so I went for it!
I’ve been here since the end of November – just at the start of the busy festive period, so I was thrown in at the deep end. But in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much.
Tell us about a typical day?
My main role is to support the Hospitality lecturers. Every day starts with setting up the restaurant when I come in. This can be making sure that the tables are all set, checking the bookings for that day, and checking that everything is in place for customers arriving for their lunch.
It means that when the students arrive in the morning, there’s no mad rush to set up as it’s already been done.
I take bookings, either over the phone or via the website saltandbarrel.co.uk, as well as updating the website and managing the Salt and Barrel social media pages.
I regularly do a stock control of the bar, and order new stock when required. There’s a bit of negotiating with suppliers. I’m always trying to get a good deal.
I also help to negotiate with suppliers for upcoming events, whether that is flowers for the tables or food and drink. I also get involved with trying to get new sponsors on board for events.
There is always something to do. Even if it’s a quieter day, I always find that there’s a staff member coming in looking for help, so I’m happy to do that. I really enjoy my job so it’s always a pleasure.
How long does the internship last and what are your plans?
It’s for 12 months. Because I have enjoyed this experience so much, I have thought part of me would like to get into teaching. The lecturers who work at the College have really inspired me to look more into the teaching aspect of the industry.
The lecturers here have a wealth of knowledge and I would like to get more experience, in different areas of the hospitality industry, before I decide exactly where I see myself in my career. But, it will definitely be in the Hospitality industry!
John Govan, Head of Hospitality and Tourism at Ayrshire College said “We are delighted to have Sarah in this new post of Hospitality Intern supporting the students and the work of the training restaurant. The balance we have to achieve between the demands of the curriculum and student needs, and the demands of running a restaurant make it essential to have this new post, and Sarah has settled well into the role, and is helping to shape it for the future.”