The Benefits of Hiring an Intern

Why did you decide to take part in Summer Stars?

The work that the Taylor Bennett Foundation does is vital to ensuring all of us are working to build more diverse working environments and attracting diverse talent to work in the comms industry. Partnering and supporting organisations like Taylor Bennett Foundation is important to BT Group as we work to build a more diverse and inclusive business and, on a personal level, for mentors, like me, involved in last year’s Summer Stars.

Taking part in Summer Stars is a great way of hopefully helping kick start many careers in the comms industry. The BT Group Corporate Affairs team houses a variety of teams and roles for our interns to experience, from policy and public affairs to internal and external communications and sustainability and social impact programmes, we hoped we had a lot to offer someone looking to experience as much as possible in a short space of time.

A huge part of getting more people into communications is being able to truly demonstrate what a career in PR involves, one of the best ways to do this is to experience first-hand what a typical day or week in the life of a communications professional involves. The Summer Stars programme is an ideal, practical way for someone to truly see if a career in comms is for them.

What was your experience hosting an intern?

It was a fantastic experience hosting and having our intern, Tallula join us for 8 weeks. It was important to me to make sure Tallula was able to work on and experience some of our live, ongoing projects. Within my role within External Communications, Tallula was able to join us for a video shoot with one of our partners, supported with management and content creation of one of our social channels and created and pitched some thought leadership comment to media.

Tallula also spent some of her time with us learning what life in other departments entails, having expressed an interest in politics and current affairs, she had sessions with our policy and public affairs team. She also spent time working with our internal comms teams which helped fill in the gaps on the differences between communicating with external audiences versus internal ones. 

It was fascinating to get to know Tallula and to find out more about why she had chosen to join the programme and what she wanted to get out of the experience. She offered interesting insights on the industry and life at BT. It was refreshing to hear a different perspective and something all the team benefitted and learnt from. We talked through the differences of an in-house comms role at somewhere like BT versus working for a PR agency, having a team full of varying experiences hopefully really helped Tallula see the pros and cons for both roles. 

Before Tallula arrived, we wanted to set out exactly what we could offer her during her time with us and how this could support her with her overall goals, this was something we were able to discuss on a brief call before her first day. Laying out our hopes and aims before day 1 was helpful in structuring the first few days of the programme, as the first week she joined was a busy one for the team and we wanted to make sure Tallula felt comfortable before we got started.

Tallula felt like part of the team from the very beginning and was perfectly suited to the different aspects that working in communications can bring. She brought with her a perspective from the course she was currently studying at university which wasn’t related to PR but had transferable skills that she was able to put into practice during her time with us.

Why should other employers take part in the programme? 

The benefits of taking part have been invaluable to BT Group and the colleagues who have been engaged with the Summer Stars programme – it was a great experience and hopefully also puts us on the map as a future destination for diverse talent. Being able to have an intern join us was a great opportunity to enable them to add to their experience and knowledge and learn from our communications experts from a variety of different fields.

Being a mentor is an extremely rewarding experience, and it’s about more than just giving advice to the interns that join the team. Helping another person to understand exactly what they want to achieve either through learning about themselves or the industry can be motivating and empowering for all involved. Gaining new perspectives that supports the existing team as well as the business is also a unique benefit to come from a programme like this.

We found learning from our interns too and helping them overcome potential barriers to getting into the world of communications is of benefit to everyone. The team behind the Taylor Bennett Foundation made the process of enrolling an intern from their Summer Stars programme seamless, with clear communication and post programme follow-up. 

Catrina Adams, 
External Communications Manager,
BT Digital