Whether you’re scouring the net looking for tips on how to create an internship programme or are merely considering it, there’s no denying the many benefits introducing one can have on your business.
The very idea of an internship programme is to give students and recent school leavers the chance to learn new skills and demonstrate their professional potential.
An internship programme not only gives you the chance to shape the new generation, but it also introduces some of the brightest sparks into your business.
In turn, this rubs off on other workers and will create a more diversified culture.
Creating a successful internship programme can help plug the UK skills shortage as well.
Instead, you can train young professionals up and shape them into qualified employees.
It’s empowering stuff!
The question is; what does it take to develop and design a perfect internship programme?
To give you an idea, here are five steps to success.
The first thing you need to think about when creating an internship programme is your selection process.
Just because these opportunities are for inexperienced school leavers doesn’t mean you should compromise your recruitment process.
Every shortlisted applicant should be interviewed and assessed on how hard-working and dedicated they are.
The best way to do this is to ask the following interview questions:
– What areas are you eager to learn about?
– What would you class as your biggest accomplishments in life?
– What do you want to get out of this internship programme?
Give them ‘meaningful’ work
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when building an internship programme is to treat an intern like a doormat by getting them to make tea all day.
Young professionals will thrive and grow quickly if you assign them to meaningful projects they can get stuck into.
If you want to achieve great productivity rates and see a true ROI from your internship programme, you must class interns as equals to your other employees.
What’s more, challenging them to keep up with other workers will give you a pretty good idea of whether they’ll be beneficial to your business in the long-term too.
Create an experience
The experience you create is arguably one of the most important elements of building a successful internship programme.
Whether you’re hiring one intern or a group of them, they should feel like they’re a part of the business.
This includes involving them in social nights, team lunches and meetings.
Every intern deserves the chance to form relationships with the wider team and draw from their experience.
Treating your programme as an experience will improve your brand’s reputation, make interns want to work for you on a full-time basis and ensure no bad comments are left on Glassdoor.
Train them up
Getting interns to shadow and learn from existing employees is one thing, but never discard the need for investing in their training.
Spending time creating resources and providing comprehensive training will make the interns feel like they’re part of the company, therefore, inspiring them to work harder.
Some of the best ways to do this are to integrate webinars, online courses and introduction packs into your internship programme.
Towards the end of an internship, don’t underestimate the power of feedback.
Similar to an exit interview, you can use this opportunity to provide and receive constructive feedback.
Having this honest approach in place will allow you to continue improving your programme for others, as well as giving the departing intern proactive advice on how to develop their career.
During this sit-down, ask them:
– What parts of the internship did you enjoy the most and find the most valuable?
– What can we do as a company to improve our internship programme in the future?
If you’re happy with the intern, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and tell them to keep in touch.
While it’s not always possible to offer them a full-time job immediately, something suitable might crop up at a later date.
All-in-all, to create a successful internship programme, you need to take it seriously and give the interns the experience they desire.
By treating them as equals with your other employees, they’ll work harder, learn faster and develop quicker as individuals.
In turn, this will only benefit your business in the short and long-term.