Internships are on-the-job learning schemes, designed to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to to effectively start their career. In fact, the work experience gained often directly increases employability. Furthermore, sources suggest internships are increasing in popularity; with over 70,000 undertaken each year in the UK.
Internships; the benefits
An internship can provide a valuable opportunity for graduates to gain experience their desired career; without the full time demand of a permanent position. Additionally, an opportunity arises for an employer to trial their recruits to see if they fit. Its a win-win, right? A completed internship on a CV shows dedication towards desired career prospects. Additionally, the programme will provide vital information about the industry and its workings; building your contacts up along the way.
On the other hand, will experience alone take the cake? An employer could sweep the whole payment thing under the rug; hoping you wont notice as the experience is more than enough… Sometimes yes, but sometimes, no. The unpaid internship debate is a touchy subject; there are other methods of payment than just money. Seeing the intrinsic, non-monetary value gained through the experience is payment enough for some. You’re reimbursed through self discipline, an invaluable insight into the industry and career choice. In addition, preparing you for full time work; with half of the commitment! However for some, being unpaid is a deal breaker as they simply can’t afford to take on the work. Situations and responsibilities can stop an individual from gaining the experience they need, so think carefully when you apply.
Don’t exploit your intern
It’s important to clearly convey the details of the programme to potential recruits, avoiding any mishaps down the line. Sources suggest the cost of unpaid internships are blocking potential graduates to their desired careers. This means for an unpaid scheme to be successful, an alternative source of income must be present; with reasonable responsibility. Therefore, don’t use the internship as a source of cheap/free labour; exchanging it for minimal commitment. Treat your recruit as part of the team; they might surprise you along the way! Help your intern build their personal brand; nurture the key skills they need to succeed. Do this by giving them relevant tasks, have them contribute and make a difference; positive reinforcement is often an invaluable form of motivation.
Internships are a fantastic way to create a win-win dynamic between a business and a recruit. Be transparent in the programmes makeup, motivate them with relevant tasks, not just coffee rounds and printing duties. Paid or unpaid, value is achieved by both parties when the dynamic is straight and your intern is willing to succeed in a competitive environment.