Internships Down Under deals with large numbers of interns each year. We gather regular feedback from the interns during the placement and also upon completion of the internship. We have compiled a list of the top three areas which need attention;
1. “I didn’t have anything to do”
We understand that as a company you are busy and that you have a job to do, but please remember that the interns have made a huge commitment to complete the internship in Australia. The internships should be well planned and structured. The interns are not at the company simply to complete adhoc tasks which come up on a day to day basis, but should be given worthwhile training based tasks & projects which can develop their skills and knowledge at all times. Sufficient monitoring & supervision should be carried out.
2. “I didn’t learn anything”
As above, the internships should be a well planned out structured training experience. The experience should enhance the intern’s knowledge and skills.
Often the interns aren’t aware of what they have learnt unless clearly pointed out i.e. customer service skills, workplace professionalism, research skills, etc. Please prescribe workplace tasks that will be beneficial to their future. We are aware that interns gain their knowledge more indirectly in a workplace when compared to a classroom environment. We suggest thoroughly explaining the reason for each prescribed training task & project, and explaining the skills they will develop.
3. “I did the same thing every week”
There are not many paid full time jobs which involve tasks that vary week to week. We understand that the majority of work is repetitive, and although it is part of the internship experience for interns to become aware of this, it will enhance an intern’s experience if a variety of tasks can be offered. Interns may be satisfied with their training routine but please consider altering their training tasks & projects, and even moving them between departments to broaden the training experience.
We highly recommend all host companies consult with their intern on a regular basis to gain feedback and to find out if improvements can be made to the internship experience.