I have been an intern four times, both paid and unpaid. And let me tell you that if I could do more, I probably would.

My name is Garrett McNamara, I am a Psychology and Marketing Graduate at Deakin University and a Melbourne based Content Creator. Am I kidding about being a four-time intern?  Absolutely not. And I’m not kidding either when I say I’d one hundred percent do another. Let me explain why.

I undertook my first internship just shy of fifteen, but just like most fifteen-year-olds, I had no idea what or who I wanted to be and had only a few months retail experience under my belt. Grappled with the fact I somehow needed to have this all figured out before VCE, the school careers counsellor suggested I try doing internships. Although I was incredibly young, the thought of getting out there, meeting new people and experiencing the tiniest glimpse of the real world excited me.

After reaching out to my then area manager, who would become a colleague and mentor of 7 years, I got my first experience interning in retail area management. Two years on, I flew out to Aurora Spa at Palazzo Versace for my second. I know, quite different to what I ended up studying but isn’t that the beauty of internships? Trying new things and figuring out which industries inspire you the most? Personally, I gained so much! Confidence, communication skills and a better understanding of where I might see myself after high school.

Fast forward five years and I began to scan job sites and LinkedIn for possible entry-level roles relevant to the marketing industry. The issue? Every one of them required relevant experience. I remember feeling sick and anxious. How was I supposed to get said experience before I had even graduated from my degree? And then it hit me… internships!

By using the connections I was able to previously make, I lined up my third internship doing in-house marketing in an e-commerce environment and then the following year, I began my fourth as a PR and Marketing intern at Modern Currency.

These were very pivotal positions for me. I was able to work with some incredible people – my career idols. Six years of studying had finally made sense and I knew this was what I was meant to be doing. Through these internships I was able to learn and make mistakes, ask questions and gain invaluable feedback and advice.

Businesses should be praised for running internship programs. For taking the time, care and resources to train and guide young industry professionals through what could be a very difficult time trying to kick start their careers.

Beyond the incredible support, interns get exposed to countless networking opportunities, a chance to be active in day-to-day happenings in the workplace and gain vital experience in an industry they might soon enter. Which would certainly look good on their CV, giving them the relevant experience needed to land those graduate roles.

I know you’re probably tired of me banging on about internships, but I refuse to stop! I truly believe they are an invaluable and highly rewarding experience, and a key stepping stone toward career success. Every business should offer internship programs where possible and every student should be encouraged to undertake as many as they can.

Written by Garrett McNamara

Join our rewarding internship program at Modern Currency! Get in touch at hello@moderncurrency.com.au.