For the past two months, I have been working as an intern alongside Professor Amy Irwin and PhD student Oliver Hamlet as part of the Applied Psychology & Human Factors Psychology Group at the University of Aberdeen. My role has been primarily focused on the helicopter industry with a majority of my time being spent assisting in the making a behavioural marker system designed to measure the non-technical skills of offshore transport and search and rescue helicopter teams, however there were also opportunities for me to branch out into other activities. I felt quite excited before beginning this remote internship, knowing that I would be able to work and gain experience within the comfort of my home all while wearing my pyjamas. There was also the thankful feeling of knowing that I would be able to gain something valuable out of my summer after my previous plans were cancelled due to the pandemic.
One of the most enjoyable tasks I did within my internship was hosting a twitter chat on the APHF Group twitter page (@APHFAberdeen). A twitter chat is a scheduled public conversation focused around a particular hashtag, which in this case was #NonTechnicalSkills. It was a great way for professionals to meet and share expertise and insights into the importance and capabilities of non-technical skills, which gave me a lot to learn from. And because this took place on twitter, informality was a given (gifs and memes were welcomed!).
One of the more difficult challenges I overcame in my internship was transcribing audio interviews from search and rescue crewmen. Throughout much of the transcribing process I struggled in understanding what was being said, either due to the audio quality, the interviewee speaking too quickly, or the interviewee’s accent. Although definitely the more mundane of tasks I did within my internship, the entire process required a lot of motivation and for me to focus and not lose my centre of attention. I may have given out the biggest sigh of relief when I completed transcribing the last audio file, but I believe that if I could persevere through over an hours’ worth of grainy audio then I could probably persevere through anything.
My advice for any future intern is to take every single opportunity that comes your way. Even if none are offered to you, make sure to go out and seek them. By taking up these opportunities so many more doors that were previously closed will open up to you. Especially after this pandemic, where finding a job will become increasingly more difficult, having these experiences will certainly not only boost your confidence and help you stand out from the crowd, but there is a guarantee that the skills you gain from your internship will stick with you throughout the rest of your career.
I would like to thank Prof. Amy Irwin and Oliver Hamlet for choosing me as one of their interns. I would also like to particularly thank Prof. Amy Irwin for taking the time to offer help and guidance. You’re both the best!
Alicia is a current MA Psychology student