Top 10 things about doing a summer internship at the Wellcome Trust
Each year, the Wellcome Trust offers a number of paid summer internships at Trust HQ. These are aimed at giving current undergraduates the chance to experience working an area of the Trust that interests them, and we hope to inspire, support and develop the next generation of people who can make a difference.
As the eight-week placements of the 2014 cohort of interns come to an end, we caught up with some of them to find out what they most enjoyed about being at the Trust, and what advice they have for future applicants…
The top 10 things about working at the Wellcome Trust
- The diversity of people – their careers, backgrounds, and skills – and the diversity of the work done that is done here
- The friendliness and atmosphere – “Everyone is super friendly & helpful– from the staff in the kitchen to Jeremy Farrar”
- The food! Cheap, tasty, healthy food
- The glass lifts – and the chats you have in them
- The sense of improving the world and being able to see real outcomes of your work
- The opportunity to learn outside your field
- Working alongside the greatest minds (someone’s been reading our vision statement!)
- The free gym
- The free tea and coffee (and hot-chocolate)
- The great views from the upper floors of the building
Even though they’ve only been with us for eight weeks, it seems like this bright bunch of interns have already found many of the things that make working at the Wellcome Trust so enjoyable. But what will they take away from the experience?
The Internship Experience
Eloisa Tovee, Legal Intern
“Eight weeks interning at the Wellcome Trust is a substantial amount of time and has been the origin of an amazing learning curve. Over the summer internship I have developed communication skills, gained experience in legal writing and negotiation and more importantly, learnt to think outside the box.”
Strategic Planning and Policy Unit – Evaluation Intern
“I’ve learned that most people change careers and move about quite a lot – it’s okay not to know exactly what you want to do as that will probably change anyway throughout your life! I’ve also learnt how to handle many different projects at the same time, and to always provide updates and feedback to your supervisors.”
Jamie Gore, Marketing Communications Intern
“I’ve learned all about the different tasks that come under the umbrella term ‘Marketing’, I’ve improved a number of my skills Excel for example) and learned that the Trust gets involved with much more than just medical research.”
Bethany Summers, Science Intern
“I’ve learnt more about what the Wellcome Trust does and from that been able to complete a whole project complete with presentation to the division in only 8 weeks! My newfound Excel skills are certainly a bonus and I’m geekily excited about being able to use them in my final year of university. I must credit the Neuroscience and Mental Health team in Science for all their support and including me as one of the ‘family’.”
Sophie Ward, Education and Learning Intern
“I’ve learnt a lot of transferrable skills to take back to university with me next year, including research/report writing skills. I’ve also had the chance to listen to a funding committee, which gave me lots of things to think about when completing application forms in the future.”
Meesha Patel – Broadcast, Games and Film Intern
“One of the main and most important things I have learnt from my experience here is that you shouldn’t plan too far ahead. As long as you have a general idea of where you are going and you have ambition, you are helping yourself along the way by getting involved with projects that interest you. Your plan isn’t set in stone. It has got to be fluid – as most things are in life.”
Advice for future applicants
We asked what advice they would give people who are considering applying for the Wellcome Trust internship scheme in future. Lots of good advice came back – including these top tips:
Go for it!
“You would need a very good reason not to apply!” says Eloisa Tovee. “The opportunities to network, gain experience in what interests you, develop personal skills and transferrable career skills are boundless. It is the perfect place to spend eight weeks learning!”
It’s not just for science students
“As a non-science student I nearly let this put me off applying” says Sophie Ward. “I thought that I wouldn’t have much of a chance, however it turns out that this isn’t true! Just make sure you can show a real interest in the role you are applying for and can articulate why you want to work here.”
Meesha Patel shares her advice on producing a good application “Show how passionate you are” she says. “Interest and dedication really shines through in an application or in an interview and being able to convey that will help you a great deal.”
“Don’t try to fit the model of a ‘perfect applicant’” says Ben Stockton, “there’s no set career path needed to work here.” Jamie Gore agrees, “being a little bit different helps you stand out, I did my interview on Skype from a hostel in Morocco in harem pants and I think that made me stand out somewhat” he says.
Learn about the Trust
“I would highly recommend developing an understanding of the uniqueness of the Trust and an appreciation for how influential and important its role is in the scientific community” says Gore.
If you’re successful, then Kate Taylor has this advice for getting the most out of the experience: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up when you don’t know something. People are really friendly here and willing to help.”
We’d like to thank all of our 21 summer interns for their hard work this summer. They’ve worked on projects and initiatives too numerous to count within every department in the Trust, and contributed greatly to our work. A final word from the Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar “From all of us: thank you, goodbye and remember to stay in touch!”
If you’re interested in applying for a summer internship next year, be sure to keep an eye on the internship section of the Wellcome Trust website. We also run a graduate development scheme and offer a range of funding options, including Biomedical Vacation Scholarships.