It would be great if there was someone around the office to do all the little things like making sure the garbage bags are empty, the coffee stays hot, everything is filed and organized and the thousands of pages waiting to be covered in ink from the photocopier were magically finished. Wouldn’t it be great to have … an intern!
The stereotypical view of an intern being a lackey doing menial jobs around the office is something that may be shown to us on TV and in movies, but the reality is that most interns gain valuable experience in their placements, and their employers teach them the tricks of the trade.
The experience for Greg Dermer, a former student of George Brown College’s sports marketing program was a valuable one. Dermer, a lifelong basketball fan, interned at Basketball Ontario, where he took part in marketing, program development and management, as well as event co-ordination.
“I got a lot of good experience,” he said. “It’s a small organization so they gave me good responsibility.”
Steve Cogan, co-ordinator of the journalism program at Centennial College, says he knows his interns are at the bottom of the pecking order when they enter the workplace for their placement, but he ensures his students won’t have menial tasks dominate their experience.
“There have been some isolated instances where an intern has called us to say ‘I’m just making coffee, I’m just filing,’” he says. “We then talk to the internship supervisor explaining the criteria, and if it doesn’t change we will, and do pull our interns.”
Dermer says the skills he learned were valuable and applicable to his job today, where he works in marketing and project development at marketing firm BBDO.
Although his experience at Basketball Ontario didn’t lead him directly to a job within the company he interned at, the valuable experience and the name on the resumé opened up many doors for Dermer.