Student internship in government organisations: what and why?

During my university studies, I developed a general interest in communications and environmental issues. Little did I know that I would be able to combine both of these interests in an internship at the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Since I began work as a communications trainee in January, I have been learning about social media, climate and transport-related communications, and much more every day.

Internships in government organisations are a convenient way for students to gain experience. Universities in Finland encourage students to take on an internship, and some programmes even require it. Government organisations look for students studying different subjects to work on various tasks and learn along the way.

Room for learning and teaching

Indeed, the idea of a student internship is to learn and develop professional skills. Finnish organisations are not necessarily looking for a student who already has a ton of work experience and all the necessary skills. What they are looking for is a chance to provide opportunities for students that want to challenge themselves, think critically and work with passion to address issues that they consider important.

In return, government organisations want to learn from students that are eager to share their views about what the future should be like. They look for students that are willing to teach others. Young people have novel insights into the issues of today and tomorrow. Working with them, and taking time to understand their viewpoints, might very well reveal ideas that inspire a positive change to the current ways of doing things. Therefore, student interns can be a valuable source of ideas to Finnish government organisations.

An opportunity to apply your knowledge and shape your future

There are several perks to internships for students. Students get the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practice, develop a professional network, and receive mentoring. They get a feel for professional life. All of this can help students succeed in their studies and shape out a future career.

One key benefit is the opportunity to learn about the work of government organisations. The experience gives students a deeper understanding of the way our nation operates, and how the work of such organisations translates into integral parts of people’s everyday life. Moreover, students get to find out if working in the public sector is likely to fulfil their career aspirations.

A win-win situation

In my personal experience, an internship in a government organisation is a genuine win-win situation. I have benefitted tremendously and developed skills that will help me in the future. In addition, I found myself valuable to our team. I was able to teach others something new and bring my input to the organisation.

I have gained a lot of knowledge about the work of government organisations in Finland, and developed skills in different areas of communications like content creation, social media, and climate and environment-related communications. Working with themes like emission mitigation, smart transport systems and Mobility as a Service (Maas) has given me valuable insights into sustainable development in the transport sector, which will definitely help me as I move on to study Creative Sustainability at Master’s level.

I, in turn, found my existing knowledge and experience about social media useful. I was able to share with our team new ways of connecting with our audience on social media in a more interactive way. I was able to make good use of my understanding of how to deliver a message to different target groups effectively.

The gist of student internships in government organisations is definitely about finding synergies between young talents and established entities. Mixing novel views and students’ ideas with the solid expertise of the organisations will guarantee positive learning outcomes for everyone involved. The benefits are evident from many different angles.

Pettiina Niiranen

The author is a trainee at the Ministry of Transport and Communications

Kirjoittanut: Pettiina Niiranen