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Story 1 - Anna Louise Cowgill

Case study: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

Anna Louise Cowgill is interning for 11-months as a Social Media and Engagement Officer at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Devon and Cornwall. She studied Law and European Study at the University of Exeter.

“When I left university I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do. I was interested in communications, and thought that an internship in this area would give me the chance to try it out. I knew employers valued work experience, so it also felt a good way to achieve this. My legal and forensic science background meant I had an interest in the police force too, and so when the role at the PCC came it presented a great opportunity to marry my two interests.

“I had some experience of work before joining the PCC; having held a position at a supermarket and undertaken some temporary office work, but this was a totally different experience. At university you get used to regulating your own time with lots of flexibility and the only expectation you have to live up to is your own.

“During the first few weeks as an intern I had to get used to working in a much more structured environment, surrounded by people working on many different projects. It was also different living up to other people's expectations of me instead of just my own.

“A typical day involves the day to day running of our social media accounts, including monitoring our feeds and creating and scheduling posts. I may also spend some time out at events. I love the mix of digital and face-to-face engagement as it keeps things interesting. Every day is different.

“I found the face-to-face events the most challenging in the beginning as there was a steep learning curve for me to build my knowledge and understand how the PCC worked. Very quickly I had to get used to responding to questions and dealing with some challenging situations. I have a really supportive team, which has been invaluable.

“Interning has helped me to build new skills and realise that I would enjoy a career in communications. It has set me up for my next role too. I’ve just heard that the PCC is making my position permanent!”

One piece of advice for someone considering an internship

“Apply! It's a really good way to learn more about yourself, your future career and build the experience that employers want.”