Fact: Internship is a Necessary Evil

When you mention “internship” to a group of people, they react differently based either on their understanding of what it is, personal experience or hearsay.  Those who have been through an internship and learned from experience speak highly of it. While they are those who feel they were exploited while on placement have negative feelings towards it.

Could the negative experiences be from the failure to understand what an internship is an what it is meant to entail? It could be.

So What Really is an Internship?

An internship is a monitored work experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he is learning throughout the experience.
Although internships programs vary from organization to organization, some common characteristics include;

  • They are durational – 2 weeks to 3 months
  • May be part time or full time
  • May be paid or non-paid
  • They include learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment.
  • Have an existing employee working in the department to mentor and supervise the intern.
  • Seeks to establish a reasonable balance between the interns’ learning goals and the specific work tasks of an organization.
  • Promotes academic, career and/or personal development.

Tasks to Undertake While on Internship

For the internship program to be successful and mutually beneficial, it is good to identify tasks/duties the interns will be expected to undertake while on internships.

Such tasks as:-

  • Data entry and report writing
  • Preparing manuals and handbooks
  • Designing posters, graphs and charts
  • Performing software and hardware end user support
  • Conducting market research, surveys and studies
  • Compiling reports and preparing presentations
  • Preparing budgets and financial reports
  • Laboratory works such running tests

The tasks are bound to differ from organization to organization. They are dependent on the nature of the organization, the duration of project and level of skills required. In some organizations, they have preference for continuing students while others prefer fresh graduates.

From this pool of fresh graduates, hiring managers are able to identify promising talent whom they can engage as employees when need arises.

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