Emma Marshall, from The James Young High School in West Lothian, enjoyed a four-week paid internship at Access2Employment within West Lothian Council. The organisation offers tailored support to help people secure better employment, training and educational opportunities.

We caught up with Emma to tell us how her internship gave her the skills, confidence and fresh perspective to kick start a rewarding future.

Demotivated due to the pandemic

I can struggle with anxiety, especially in social situations which used to affect my ability to communicate with new people. I was also feeling demotivated and exhausted due to the pandemic and the difficult year we’ve had in education.

I had a rough idea of what my route after school might look like however, my time at West Lothian Council has provided me with plenty of clarity on what my options are and how I can achieve my career aspirations. I understand what to expect from a professional environment and how to manage expectations of me.

A vital opportunity

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people at Access2Employement and building a really supportive network. As well as working with different team members I got to work on my writing and editing skills. During my internship I created and edited CVs for customers and assisted with the production of the A2E weekly bulletin.

Experiences like this create a gateway between education and the workplace, it is a vital opportunity for many young people and can help remove many barriers.

I feel so much more confident in myself and about my future employment prospects. My internship allowed me to view things from a different perspective and see that multiple opportunities were still available for young people. I now have a fresh mind and a feeling of being able to take on whatever faces me next.

Confidence boost

My confidence has undergone such a big improvement throughout the internship, it’s been the biggest personal benefit to me. I could never have imagined talking confidently in front of so many people as I did throughout the internship and during my final presentation.

My new-found confidence has helped me to manage my anxiety, especially in social situations such as meeting new people.

I’m hoping to study Social Work at university after my final year at school. I’ve always aspired to be a social worker, specialising in children and families and my internship definitely helped confirm that for me.

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