Tips to Create a Strong Internship Development Programme


Tips to Create a Strong Internship Development Programme

Summer internship season is here and with that not only comes a lot of pressure for students, but also aA�lot of pressure for companies to hire and train interns and create beneficial internship programs. Ita��sA�important for these programs to be taken seriously, prioritized, and constantly be redeveloped to makeA�them great experiences for both the students and the employees of the business. Here are eight ways toA�create a strong internship program for this summer.

1. Lock them In ASAP.

If you dona��t have your summer interns hired, make that a priority in theA�coming weeks. If you can post your internship, interview candidates, and make your selectionsA�by early/mid-May that is going to be ideal. Many companies have already given out theirA�internship offers and have locked in their candidates so you want to get moving on this ASAP.

2. Make sure your posting reflects the position.

Companies typically use the same internshipA�posting for years and years. They never go back to actually read the posting to make sure itA�reflects the work that the interns are currently responsible for. Make sure that you update yourA�internship listing before each semester so information is accurate. Students are expecting theA�internship to be what ita��s advertised as. Oftentimes, students complain that their internship isna��tA�what the listing said it would be — definitely an avoidable problem.

3. Assign an internship coordinator.

At large companies with HR departments, this isna��t an issue.A�But many small businesses will task a few different junior or entry-level employees withA�recruiting and hiring the new intern class. Oftentimes the responsibilities are unclear andA�working with interns is never really established as a priority.

The role of internship coordinatorA�shouldna��t be an ambiguous title. Determine who is responsible for the intern program and makeA�the description of that role clear. When bringing students into your office, the program needs toA�be structured and safe for them. Remember, whenever there are students involved, there areA�parents involved as well.

4. Set specific dates for internship milestones.

Every internship program should have a clear startA�date, end-date, mid-way evaluation and a final exit interview. These dates should be set on theA�calendar before the internship starts. Anyone who plans to interact with the interns over theA�course of the summer should try and attend these evaluation and interview sessions.

5. Create a company process for intern tasks.

How will your company determine what the internsA�do? If employees want an intern to help them with a specific task, how do they request that? IA�recommend sending around an email that clearly outlines the process for requesting internA�assistance two weeks before the interns start. Employees should outline the tasks they needA�help with and the learning objectives associated with each task. Interns should be getting aA�supervised learning experience, they shouldna��t just be seen as an extra set of hands.

6. Make sure the intern schedulea��s make sense for business.

At my company, we start workA�at 8:30 a.m. We dona��t schedule interns to start their hours until after 10 a.m. We do this onA�purpose because we know that our team needs a moment in the morning to get organized. If weA�have interns starting at 8:30 a.m., they will just be sitting around unless they have leftover tasksA�to work on from previous days.

We also make sure that our interns take breaks at 1 p.m. when weA�go to lunch and wrap up by 4 p.m. — we do this because we dona��t want to leave themA�unsupervised when our team takes lunch. If an interna��s availability doesna��t make sense for yourA�team, Ia��d suggest not hiring them. This will end up being more work for you to cater to theirA�schedule.

7. Create an executive lunch series.

An added value for your program is to create an executiveA�lunch series where once a week your company sponsors an intern lunch (make sure you haveA�budget for this) and you invite executives from different departments to speak to the interns,A�explain how they got started, and discuss their role within the company. Youa��ll find that this notA�only benefits the students but also motivates your employees as well. For many organizations,A�employees enjoy opportunities to mentor interns and younger employees. Schedule this lunchA�series before the internship begins to ensure you have a speaker who is available every week.

8. Make the programme a priority.

There is a major difference in the experience a student gets fromA�a company that makes their internship program a priority and a company that doesna��t. TheA�student can easily tell how important the internship program is to a team of employees rightA�away. You must filter the message from the top down that the internship program is a priority.A�Not only can this program be used to better structure your team and be more efficient in theA�office but ita��s also an extremely effective recruitment tool.

The goal is that in the future you canA�hire from your intern class instead of having to hire completely new employees that may or mayA�not fit your culture. These interns will already be trained by your team, theya��ll have anA�understanding of company processes, and they will be less of a risk than an unknown hire.

Remember that these internships have the ability to impact young people for the rest of theirA�lives. Encourage your team to act as mentors for these students. Ia��ve been in the internshipA�space for seven years now and Ia��ve seen the long tail effect of these programs. Students leaveA�internships more confident and experienced than when they started. The internship experiencesA�they have at your company will enable them to pursue the career path of their dreams.