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A Virtual Work-based Placement

By Sandra Besa Longmore.

Sandra Besa LongmoreAs work is increasingly delivered remotely, a new and digital form of Work-Based Learning (WBL) is required to help interns, such as myself, transition from face-to-face higher education to working remotely. Approaching the end of my Master’s programme, I found it quite difficult to find internship positions for international students in and around Groningen, in the Netherlands. When Esther Haag, Internship Coordinator at the University of Groningen (RUG), presented me with an opportunity to take part in electronic WBL (eWBL), I immediately accepted. However, I was a little uncertain of whether I would learn as much working remotely for an Irish company, Momentum as I would in a traditional onsite internship.

Midway through my internship, I realised that I was learning more than I had in previous internships locally. When Haag and I met for a debrief and evaluation of my internship so far, she suggested I attend one of her workshops, where she upskills educators in higher education on how to design and deliver high-quality eWBL. She invited me to share my professional and personal experience as a hybrid intern, including some tips and tricks I picked up from my mentor at Momentum, Grace Roche, to ease the transition from in-person learning to digital learning.

In the workshop, I shared my experience with six educators explaining that once I was appropriately matched as a Writer and Content Creator at Momentum, the onboarding phase began and I was introduced to Grace Roche, Head of EU projects. The onboarding phase of the eWBL project tackles the challenges associated with limited in-person interaction in remote work environments. To do this, Grace first organised a meeting where we discussed the role and responsibilities I would take on as a writer and content creator intern at Momentum.  We also agreed on the methods of communication and collaboration we would as Microsoft Teams and shared Google Docs.

In my experience, these platforms work effectively for eWBL because Google Docs allows collaboration in real time. I also feel that it removes some pressure the intern might feel about making mistakes. I became more confident because I was guided by Grace’s comments, suggestions and advice. Microsoft Teams is also effective for real-time communication, as I was able to call, message and react using interactive elements such as emoticons which I felt humanised our interactions.

Once I understood my role and the day-to-day operations at Momentum, Grace set up an online meeting so I could meet my new colleagues. Anyone available was there, with cameras on, which made the meeting a lot more personal. As an icebreaker, everyone introduced themselves and offered me help, which was very comforting. After the warm welcome, the atmosphere was chatty and informal so I felt like I was in the breakroom.

Every week, I met with my assigned writing team, a smaller group of colleagues, to share our progress and ask for help and advice. While the weekly meetings helped alleviate the social limitations of remote work, I found that I was still missing out on human interaction while working from home. As a result, I often worked in public areas such as my university library and alongside a friend who was also undergoing eWBL. I recommend that hybrid interns find a work buddy to simulate a work environment to keep them motivated and to provide mutual support and encouragement. Overall, the onboarding phase from Momentum, facilitated a smooth transition to the virtual work environment for me, laying the groundwork for a successful eWBL experience.

Find out more about Sandra here: Sandra Besa Longmore – Momentum (

Sandra Besa Longmore, Writer & Content Creator intern at Momentum.

Sandra Besa Longmore shares her eWBL professional experience as a hybrid intern in Momentum, Ireland with the University of Groningen (RUG) as part of the eWBL Master Training hosted by Esther Haag, Internship Coordinator

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