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Are All Internships Worth It?

By Ayush Dev Pant

Internships are regarded as the bridge between the academic and the corporate world. Many companies throughout the world open up internship opportunities for the young workforce in the market. Interns tend to be dedicated towards their work as they are very much aware of the word ‘competition’. In this current business era, it’s pivotal to have a progressive mindset and diligence towards work, even if it is unpaid. That is what the world demands, but are all internships worth it?

Internships as we know them today – students working at jobs to gain hands on experience in the so-called world of work – evolved over the course of the 20th century. In 1980’s only 3% of students completed internship while 80% students completed their internship in 1999.  The work dynamism for an intern has broadened with time. Internships are either paid or unpaid. Remuneration plays a major role in deciding the outcome of the internship. Hiring rates for those who had chosen to complete an unpaid internship (37%) were almost the same for those who had not completed any internship at all (35%). Students who had any history of a paid internship, on the other hand, were far more likely (63%) to secure employment. If an intern is being paid, their motivation towards work is higher and they attain independence in their young life. 

Companies today need to have a progressive approach towards internship. They intensively open seats for internships, but interns don’t really learn the skills the ‘real world’ demands. Most of the interns are extensively involved in photocopying, printing and getting coffees. A young human resource is definitely capable of more.  It should be a win-win for both the parties. Every year a lot of students enter the market through internships. These internship opportunities are a medium for these students to take a new step in life. It should not just be tasks that undermines their true capabilities. There are a lot of different approach towards internship that can create a better synergy between the young human resource and the company. One of the very first steps to attain that synergy is to cultivate skills. They are the present and the future of the market and having a very basic approach towards internship is definitely not a pro-active step. Having a proper plan for the interns will make the most out of the effort they have in store and will complement the pending tasks at the company. It is also very important to treat them like a real employee. Even if the internship is unpaid, they need to be able to gain the knowledge through their efforts and should be appreciated. This will happen only if the company starts seeing interns as real human resources and not just source of provisional services. 

Assigning projects is regarded as one of the most effective steps to bring the most out of the interns and enhance their outlook towards the corporate world. Generally, projects involve multiple people. Being able to work in a team is one of the most precious skill people can have. Projects will give an avenue for the interns to interact with experienced personnel and people. That is far much fruitful than traditional internships. Technology is driving the market and the youngest generation to penetrate the market today, have not experienced life without smart phones. Technology is an integral part of their life. Interns should be introduced to the technologies the company uses. Companies can experience big wins by putting business problems in front of interns and asking them to solve, automate or enhance them. Mentorship can play a pivotal role in productivity and efficiency for interns. They have the drive and energy to work hard but they require direction. Internship programs with an experienced mentor and supervisor can multiply the outcome of the internship, both for the interns and the company. 

For an organization to become successful, all the stakeholders should be aware of the company’s vision and the objectives that need to be achieved in order to acquire that ultimate vision. These missions should be clear to the interns as well. They should have clarity towards the impact their effort will create. The company should make the interns realize that they play a significant role in attaining the objectives and their work matter a lot. A remuneration plan for the interns according to their performance will definitely boost their approach towards their work. All the companies might not be able to afford remuneration for employees. In that case, the companies should make sure that the time interns have at their workplace will be worth their while. It is possible to replace remuneration with skill enhancement assignments and tasks. With Generation Z entering the market, internships can be a major win-win in this technologically driven era. It will be worth it when both the parties realize that they both need each other to progress further in life and in the market. 

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