Working for a professional body: an intern’s perspective

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A lot of people find themselves unsure what to do after sixth form or university. But thankfully there are many options whether that is continuing in  education, joining the workforce, travelling etc. 

Ailsa Galashan, a recent graduate was unsure about her next move post graduation, but happily chose a communications internship at General Teaching Council for Scotland.

 

After completing a degree in English Studies from the University of Stirling, it was time to face ‘the real world’, tentatively and with a lot of apprehension! Throughout my studies I had dithered over what career path to choose once I had graduated. At the beginning of my course I was interested in pursuing a career in teaching; however, after becoming involved with the campus newspaper and creating my own blog, I felt my attentions shift towards journalism. Finally, over the final couple of years of my studies I had become increasingly interested in digital media and communications, and felt like this would be the right step to take as my graduate career goal.

For me, pursuing an internship in communications seemed like the perfect step into beginning my career. I would have the opportunity to learn and develop my skills, as well as have assistance from a team. Although the skills and knowledge I had gained from my time at university was extremely important, I also felt that it was essential for me to have relevant work experience. Despite having done relevant volunteer work, I was aware that as I did not complete any placements in relation to my course at university, an internship seemed like the best option to pursue.

Why did I want to intern at a professional body?

I wanted to work for a professional body because I knew that I would be employed by an organisation that would be promoting and regulating a professional service. I first saw that the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) was seeking a Communications Intern in August 2017. Upon researching the main functions of GTCS, I felt that working for an organisation which assisted in the regulation and professional learning of the teaching profession would be a great step from university into the world of work.

What did I learn about working for a professional body and what have I learnt about professional bodies as a whole?

Whilst being an intern at GTCS I have learnt a lot about working for a professional body, and also professional bodies in general. Working with the communications team has meant that I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the importance of branding and marketing in relation to a regulatory body as well as the importance of strong, insightful and exciting communications between GTCS and its registrants.

I have learnt a lot about the importance of both external and internal communications within a professional body through the means of newsletters, writing articles and blogs, and I updated the analytics from our social media channels to track the organisation’s engagement. In reference to internal communications, I learnt how to update the organisation’s intranet sites, which I found both exciting and interesting.  I also gained knowledge about the importance of the wider organisation being informed of both personal and professional updates.

I also feel that a lot of my experience of interning for a professional body has come from dealing with queries from teachers, ranging from registration to regulation. This has required me to communicate with the relevant teams to deal with the query, helping me to understand the main aims of GTCS and the importance of working for a professional, regulatory body.

What am I proud of?

I am happy to say that I am proud of many things that I have accomplished. I have become more confident in HTML and updating webpages. One thing in particular, however, has been the staff newsletter. I assisted with the redesign of the organisation’s monthly staff newsletter and also sourced and wrote relevant content for this. It was really exciting to see the organisation engaging with the newsletter and even entering the monthly competition: Riddle of the month!

Now in the final months of interning for a professional body, I feel assured of my interests in media and communications and I am excited to continue my career with the knowledge and experience I have gained from GTCS.

 

Ailsa Galashan is a communications intern at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

GTCS plays a significant role in the shaping the teaching profession of Scotland, maintaining and improving professional standards and contributing to the development of teacher professionalism and Scottish education. 

For more information about GTCS and the work that they do visit their website.

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