The goal of every internship program is to develop and cultivate a pipeline of fully vetted, qualified people who can become your next full-time hire. But how does a company make that happen? What are some features of a really great internship program?
The number one reason why students look for an internship is to gain invaluable work experience, related to their major or their future line of work. It would make sense to make your internship program centered around real work that is challenging and valued by the organization. When building your program, check out your job descriptions and emphasize the importance of real work assignments during intern program meetings. Checking in with your interns frequently to see how they are doing and how their projects are going can help to keep them engaged and fulfilled.
Here are some additional ideas to ensure your program’s success:
Showcase Student work to employees or through an expo: This goes hand in hand with giving your interns real work experience! Interns work very hard at completing their work and are proud of their accomplishments, so give them the opportunity to show it off! Whether you do formal presentations or a more informal expo/fair setting, invite all your employees and executives to allow interns to demonstrate their new skills and knowledge! New Hire Panels allow Interns to have frank open discussion about what they can expect in their working life.
New Hire Panels or Former Interns Panel:give your interns a glimpse of what is down the road for them with your company. Your interns will have the opportunity to gain insights from people they perceive to be authority figures. Not only can your interns ask questions, the new hire panelists will be able to give their best advice!
Additional Training opportunities or information regarding additional training: This is a great way to show students that you’re interested in their continued development within your company! Providing in-house training – both in work-skills related areas and general skills- can help your interns feel engaged. You could also consider developing relationships with nearby community college to provide your interns with additional resources and possible credits to get ahead on their next semester.
Ultimately, your interns chose your company for a reason: your company fits in with their goals for the future! Building a great internship program and keeping your interns engaged can help you accomplish your goal of a thriving pipeline and their goal of gaining much needed experience.