Rebecca Johnstone | Design Intern

During my second year at university, I spent a lot of time both debating whether or not I should do an internship, and searching for one that was suitable. Debating, as I wasn’t sure whether I should take a year out from my studies, and searching, as it was a hard task trying to find one – especially outside of London!

Location was a key factor in the decision making process, as I didn’t want to be too far from home and knew that moving to London wasn’t for me. Moving to a new city was a scary thought, but I felt like Manchester was the place to be. I’d only ever visited Manchester a couple of times, so I didn’t really know what to expect. However, it’s such a vibrant city with so much culture and diversity. It’s a creative hub just waiting to be explored, so I was amazed when I stumbled across the gem that was the MediaCom Internship based in Manchester.

The internship was published on the placement portal at uni, which led me to their website for the application. It sounded like the perfect opportunity, so I really wanted to impress. I sent over my application, with my CV and portfolio (which was another task in itself) and hoped to hear back soon.

Since I was now specialising in Illustration, I was concerned that this internship wasn’t relevant enough. However, I was never discouraged from applying as it would be great industry experience where I could explore my design skills further and understand another avenue of work I could go into after university. It would also help me decide if I was on the right path or not.

My portfolio must have impressed, as I got to the next stage where I had to complete a given brief. Creatives and a brand guideline book were provided to aid our designs, and I was pleased with the work produced. This eventually took me to the interview stage, where I talked through my work. It was a very nerve wracking experience, but it worked out in my favour and led me to getting the position!

At first I was anxious, unsure if I had made the right decision, as I knew it would be strange when everyone continues to final year without me – a fear of missing out and returning to a new year group. I didn’t know what to expect when I started working here, I thought it would be very fast paced and hectic but it’s a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be. There are busy periods but the team always pulls together and helps each other where they can, it’s very supportive. This year has already been beneficial and my team are amazing to work with, I especially love when we have team breakfasts!

Confidence in my illustration work was growing towards the end of second year – however, I still didn’t feel ready for final year. I’ve been here 6 months now, and it’s helped me understand what I can actually achieve outside of university. It’s been self-motivating as I’ve gained a lot more confidence in the work I’m producing and have learnt so much about approaching briefs which will definitely benefit me in final year.

“My ideas have always been encouraged and developed, giving me the opportunity to produce work I never thought I’d get the chance to create.”

MediaCom Manchester is an amazing place to work, all the staff are so friendly and helpful which really makes a difference to the work environment. My ideas have always been encouraged and developed, giving me the opportunity to produce work I never thought I’d get the chance to create. I never expected to use my illustrations at such a large scale, to produce a colouring canvas and wall art designs.

Interning is a completely different experience to life at university. It’s strange having a work pattern and not staying up until early hours of the morning doing coursework. I love the job here, but I do miss uni and look forward to taking all of my skills back and completing final year to the best of my ability.

The idea of going out into the ‘real’ world was a scary thought, but this internship has helped me develop both professionally and personally. It’s opened up a number of amazing opportunities and I’ve made some great connections. Experience is key when looking for any job and you’ll certainly gain plenty taking an internship. It’s the perfect start to developing a career and I’d definitely recommend it!