Running an effective internship programme

Starting an internship programme has many benefits. It’s a good way to test out potential employees. It helps you establish ties and a recruiting edge with your local community, and it helps to generate conversations about your company, as the intern you bring on will likely become a “brand ambassador”.

However, there is one caveat: Bringing on an intern is not a good way to get needed work done when your company is shorthanded and short on cash. Using interns to do the work normally done by skilled employees usually turns into a terrible experience for both the company and the intern. Interns don’t perform at the same level as veteran workers, and they take time away from veteran workers and managers because they require significant coaching and mentoring.

Creating a positive experience

Internship programmes are first and foremost for the benefit and education of the intern. The work that an intern accomplishes at your company is offset by the planning, training, supervising, coaching and extra work that goes into creating a positive experience for both your company and the intern.

If your motivation to start an internship programme is to give a student the opportunity to explore career options and practise their business skills, then you’ll most likely have a rewarding experience with your interns.

Here are 11 steps to building an internship programme that works for both employers and interns.

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