November 19, 2019
A decade ago, a family connection or friend of a friend may have been a student’s route into work experience. But more and more companies are now launching formal internship programmes that last from a couple of weeks to a year. Internships offer real opportunities for students to get valuable ‘on-the-job’ experience and frequently open the doors to future employment too. They are also a win-win for businesses and something that all companies should consider.
So, what are the potential rewards for organisations?
Finding future employees and testing out talent
Internships can run throughout the year and are therefore accessible for students no matter their schedule, whether as a sandwich placement, summer work experience or post-graduation etc. For businesses, this translates into a pipeline of potential employees and access to fresh talent. Internships also allow companies to see someone’s work-ethic and skillset in action first-hand, rather than hearing about it in an interview. They are therefore an effective way for managers to evaluate someone’s potential as full-time employee.
For example, more than 60% of Deloitte’s undergraduate interns are hired into full graduate roles once they’ve finished their studies. Since we launched our own internship programme in 2017, every intern who was able to accept a permanent role at eNett has stayed on. This method of hiring also helps our HR team since they do not have to look externally for candidates – they’re already in the company.
Closing the skills gap and accessing the latest thinking
Graduates may not have the skills that a business needs from the offset. But they have come from university or college where they are surrounded by the latest thinking and can offer fresh perspectives. Students and businesses can therefore learn from each other; something that the tech industry has really tapped into. We see a lot of investment going into internships to attract bright minds and upskill them on the job. Indeed, SAP topped the table as the best internship programme in the US in 2019, accompanied by many other tech companies in the top 100, including Box, Cisco, Facebook, Google, NetApp and Salesforce – to name a few.
Benefits to the intern vary, from mentors and rigorous training, to presenting at global conferences and mingling with founders at events. A lot of effort is also made to bring interns into the culture and social folds, with one of the most recent examples being Microsoft’s interns writing and starring in a musical about the organisation.
At eNett, we provide our interns with everything from new starter kits, to in-depth training and frequent ‘How To’ sessions to upskill on tech and payments. Having a good work-life balance is really important to us too. We run social events throughout the year and invite our interns to join in the fun.
Enhancing current employees’ experience and skills
Gone are the days when the life of an intern meant running errands or grabbing coffee for everyone. Our interns are able to get stuck into tasks that require technical expertise, often supporting the workload of existing employees. And boost the overall productivity of the business. Not only that, they also benefit middle management by offering them the chance to foster their leadership skills. For example, we invite our IT project managers to get involved in the selection process of our interns and also become line managers to enhance their own skillsets.
My mantra has always been that your business is only as good as the people around you and that’s why our company invested so much time and effort into expanding our internship programme. Since launching in 2017, it has continued to go from strength to strength – so much so that we were recently awarded Best Internship Program at the AAGE Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards (AGRIAs), ranking first amongst the likes of Xero, PwC, P&G Australia and Accenture Australia. What makes this even more special is that the recognition was derived from a survey of over 1300 undergraduates who were part of their employer's intern program during 2018/2019.
For anyone not running an internship programme, I would whole heartedly recommend launching one. It’s benefited eNett immensely.