An internship like no other
Abbas Farshori started at Freshwater in July 2016 on a year-long industry placement. Now, as he prepares to return to university, he reflects on his experience in the London office.
At the close of a wearisome second year of university, I was given the chance to spend my third out of the lecture theatre and inside the workplace. Unconvinced by the options before me, I did some digging of my own and unearthed the sentence I was seeking: ‘London office, Public Affairs Internship opportunity, Freshwater’.
After pinging across my application, two weeks later I found myself suited up and sitting straight in a stylish inner-city office, awaiting the call to enter the boardroom for my interview. A pleasant conversation ranging from political activism to interstellar transport later, I walked home in excitement and hope. The next day I received a formal offer of employment.
I learned quickly that nobody stands still at Freshwater, which I think of as a machine with quickly turning yet perfectly aligned moving parts. I found that my role straddled two specialist services Freshwater provides; media and public affairs consultancy.
As the London team ushered me into the world of public relations and political communications, I found myself exposed to some of the largest legal and transport firms in the country and some of the most established media organisations in the world.
As the days turned to weeks, I grew in confidence and utility to the division, working independently to produce the daily monitoring service for Freshwater’s infrastructure and transport sector clients, issuing national media releases on behalf of key clients including Thompsons Solicitors, and editing weekly bulletin Labour and European Law Review.
No two days are the same at Freshwater, with such a variety of clients and creative colleagues, new chances sprout serendipitously; whether urgent project work or supporting a new business tender, I found myself constantly developing and employing new skills.
This has been a unique time to spend at Freshwater. I have supported high-profile cases with Thompsons Solicitors, including the sentencing of disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson, the release of the insurance-industry-damning ethnic penalty report and the continued resistance to threats to access for justice for working people on behalf of the trade union movement.
Neither has this been a quiet year for public affairs: an indeterminate Brexit, unprecedented mayoral elections and an unexpected general election have let me witness historic events, as they unravel, from the perspective of an ‘insider’.
These skills will no doubt find use in academia - when drafting and researching essays, giving presentations and collaborating in teams - as well as beyond, as I keep with me knowledge from a year well spent indeed.