2013-04-29

Internship journal: benefits of taking on an intern

Corne van Niekerk

My name is Corne van Niekerk and I am the Communications / Public Relations Intern at Drake New Zealand. I am currently completing my Bachelor in Communication, majoring in Public Relations. My project over the next few weeks is to interview the interns at Drake New Zealand on what they love most about interning at Drake and what they have learned. This internship journal will give you insight into how interns can add value to your company.


How can interns benefit your company?An internship programme, also known as an Industry Based Learning programme, allows students to put the theory they have studied into practice in a work situation, while further developing their relevant industry skills, knowledge, confidence and self-discipline. Internship programmes benefit both the intern and the company; the intern gains hands-on business experience while the company benefits by having an additional resource and a fresh perspective onboard.


Taking on an internship programme will benefit your company in numerous ways.  Interns are willing and eager to do all tasks regardless of the desirability as it gives them an opportunity to gain ‘real-world’ business experience, as well as gaining a valuable reference on their CV. Therefore, hiring an intern can increase your company’s productivity as they are able to complete special projects that employees are often too busy to do. Not all internship programmes require financial compensation; therefore your company can save money while getting important projects completed.


Working alongside an intern provides you with more information than a traditional job interview. It can give you insight into their knowledge, skills and work ethic. Mentoring the intern will allow you to observe their capabilities and, based on that, you can decide whether you would consider the intern for part-time or full-time employment when the internship comes to an end.


Interns can also serve as an excellent marketing tool for your company. An intern who had a favourable work experience will without a doubt market the company on-campus through word-of-mouth, which will in turn recruit other students who are interested in doing an internship. Through positive word-of-mouth, your company will be perceived as a positive learning environment and a quality place for students to gain work experience. This will allow you to gauge the talents of a new generation of workers.


When taking on an intern, it is important to remember that you will need to provide them with work that is relevant to their field of study as well as ensuring that you can provide adequate supervision and mentoring to guide them. Interns need to meet the specific requirements of their Industry Based Learning programme which often entails them taking on a project specific to their field of study. It is important for the internship to be beneficial for both the company and the intern. Having a job description and a personal learning agreement with an outline of what will be expected of the intern will be the most efficient way to ensure that both the company and the intern's needs are met.


This is the first post in a series outlining the benefits of hiring an intern. Read the subsequent articles to gain a better understanding of how students will benefit taking on an internship programme.


Further reading

Internships. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Inc-Mail/Internships.html

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