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If you could go back and give yourself advice as you were leaving school, what would it be?

At the IDEO London open house last week, we asked visiting students and designers to help inspire the latest OpenIDEO challenge around youth employment. We asked visiting students and designers to answer "Knowing what you know now about the workplace

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Written by DeletedUser

At IDEO London, we asked a range of students and creatives to tell us what advice they would give to their younger selves about preparing for and entering the workplace. Here's what they had to say...

We made a quick video of the stories for you to be inspired by!


Why not make a video of your own to inspire the community?

Thanks to everyone who took part in the video, we hope you've made it onto the platform and will take part in this exciting new challenge that impacts us all.

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DeletedUser

Looking at the video makes so much sense once you've actually experienced these things.

I think it's very important for students to realize and see internships as "previews" of the application of whatever they're learning in school. Not only of the area in which they are focusing themselves on in order to build a career path, but in the satisfaction they obtain from working in whichever field they are.

As a recent grad, I had the opportunity to intern once, and if I knew then what I know now... I would have tried to have as many internships as possible from the beginning.

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I am very ambivalent about internships as they exist in many places.
As long as interns are fairly remunerated for the work they perform I am in favour - where remuneration consists simply of experience gained I believe it is more appropriately incorporated as a part of gaining the qualification. Work experience is very valuable certainly, but demeaned if one has to take a second job to provide for living.

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DeletedUser

I completely agree with you. Whenever I see things like "unpaid work" or, "use this internship to build your portfolio," it makes me cringe.

However, the paid/unpaid marker serves as a very important indicator. From the beginning a light will go off like a warning, anticipating what kind of job you'll be doing and how that place regards and values the contributions of an intern.

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Very good point!
Perhaps this opens an opportunity for a concept (for this challenge) based around supporting organisation with a fair approach to internships.
Sadly, never having graduated from university myself I can't speak from experience but I have seen others benefit from fair internships and bonded scholarships too.

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I also prefer a fair remuneration for internships, however, there's a catch. In some countries (like the one I live in now), it's not the norm. Don't ask me why, but it isn't. And everybody is happy with that, to a certain degree.
Also, I know that in some countries, educational programs focus more on theory than on practice. Internships are valuable for young people to gain experience they need to distinguish themselves in the job-market. So, apart from a salary, the internship has value.
But I also think that internships can have different goals. If it is to 'get a look in the kitchen', it might be that it costs a company more than it delivers. Showing someone around, having them tag along with the workers etcetera. This can be a short internship, where the student does not add value to the company. In these type of internships, I don't see the need for a salary.
If the student is not only developing skills and gaining experience, but actually adding value to a company, I think it's fair to give that student some compensation for the effort, other than 'cv-building'.