Internship programs are useful both for aspiring professionals and staff members working in an organization. However, internships have earned a bad reputation, as many companies consider filing paperwork and fetching coffee for free to be a useful internship experience. In order to build a long-lasting and valuable program within your organization, consider the following tips:
Keep the focus on education
While it is important to ensure that staff members benefit from having interns on board and don’t feel like glorified babysitters, a successful internship program is all about educating aspiring young professionals. Make sure that the program is focused heavily on teaching students about what the industry is really like. For every coffee grabbing session, the young person should have a chance to sit in on a meeting or watch a staff member put together a proposal. When the students learn something while contributing to the well-being of the company, everyone benefits.
Turn the program into a paid opportunity
In order to increase the caliber of the potential interns who apply and to make it worth their while, consider making the internship program a paid opportunity. The money doesn’t have to be astronomical, but even a little bit helps to keep students motivated. It also makes it possible for them to spend more time interning, as they don’t have to pick up a part-time job during the experience. A paid internship also helps your company to stand out dramatically.
Place an emphasis on analyzing the program
Many employers treat their internship programs as an afterthought, not understanding just how valuable this program can be when handled properly. Make it a point to continue to analyze and improve the internship experience. Ask for feedback when students have completed the program, and make changes accordingly. If former interns indicate that they didn’t learn much, it’s time to take a look at necessary changes that can be made to fix this.
Lastly, employers should choose interns carefully. Pick students who can actually help and contribute. If your social media is lacking, find people who are heavily interested in this aspect of business. If you need help creating sales proposals, find sales-oriented people who can write well. This ensures that everyone benefits from the experience.