Summer internship programmes are commonplace and, done right, they provide valuable work experience to students or recent graduates keen to explore their chosen field. For organisations, such programmes are an ideal source of potential or future talent and help burnish their employer of choice brand in the marketplace.
However, such programmes need to be carefully designed and managed. Organisations must ensure their internships are diverse and accessible to ensure individuals from less economically privileged backgrounds are given equal opportunities. Interns are also not to be seen as free labour and instead paid appropriately for the contribution they make and given genuine work experience.
Steven Rothberg is the founder and chief visionary officer of College Recruiter, a global job site connecting students and recent graduates with internships, part-time jobs, seasonal work and entry-level career opportunities.
The three Rs of internships [01.54]
Steven explains what goes into a great internship programme. He explains that employer must see interns as potential hires and failing to hire means the internship has, in his opinion, failed its purpose.
The economically privileged Intern [03:56]
I put it to Steven that internships in certain sectors such as the 3rd sector are really only open to economically-privileged individuals. Steven argues that if the work has economic-value then the work should be financially rewarded.
How about older grads and interns? [07:26]
Steven explains that there is some evidence that older workers are now being more favourably considered for such programmes but there is still plenty of age discrimination.
How can new employees be more visible in the age of hybrid working? [15:16]
Steven agreed that concerns around the lack of visibility for new joiners in a hybrid or remote working environment is valid. However, although difficult it certainly isn’t impossible and the measurement of success is outcomes based.
Do graduates have developed soft skills? [23:00]
Steven is very much of the school of thought that technical skills can be taught but soft or power skills such as critical thinking require intention to improve. He particularly sees this with the large global recruiters he works with who recruit a large percentage of graduates.
The importance of mentors [28:26]
Steven explains the importance of mentors to recent graduates and younger employees joining an organisation and gives his own experience of being mentored.