What is Internship?

An internship is a period of job training for a white-collar job or professional career; an opportunity to have a hands-on-practical experience of professional work-life different from what is learnt and experienced in the classroom. Internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between the student/ applicant and the organization.

According to Google Search, “an internship is the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without stipend, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification”.

Professional career internships are similar in some ways but they tend to be more rigorous. Some professions, vocational jobs, and trades, due to not being standardized have left the term internship open to broad interpretation.

Companies offer practical experience opportunities to interested and capable beginners of a profession, for a given period. Interns may be University Students, Colleges of Education or Polytechnic students, high school or Postgraduate students who by the requirement of their course of study, are mandated to undergo internship for further exposure for a given period in their course of studies. They may be paid or non-paid; full-time or part-time and are usually temporary between 2 -12months – it is not permanent.

Internship affords you the opportunity of learning through exposure and experience. It gives interns the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

Some companies make it a policy to first hire interns for a certain position to see if they have the skills, knowledge, and attitude required of the job and also enable them to understand the candidates’ capacity and measure same against certain variables and be informed of the type of training he/ she would require to perform optimally on the job.

Without mincing words, some organizations leave out some positions for interns as a cost-saving measure as it is cheaper than keeping regular employees while some use it as a form of support in its CSR bid.

On the part of the Student/ Applicant, they can use the internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career or would want to work for the organization. They also use the opportunity to create a network of contacts and also acquire a recommendation letter to add to their CV or to gain school credit.

Some interns find a permanent paid employment with the organization at the end of their internship. This can be a huge advantage to the organization when experienced interns are employed as they require little or no training and are armed with clear understanding and information on the workings of the organization – communication, company’s customers, internal politics etc.

Benefits of Internship

  1. You get hands-on experiences and grow your skill-set
  2. You have first-hand info about the industry/ sector, customers, competition and the business world
  3. Internee also have an opportunity at the end to do self-audit – SWOT Analysis
  4. Whilst on internship, you have the opportunity of working as a team
  5. You may be paid and that could support your finances from whence you can plan further;
  6. With the internship opportunity, you can build relationships, make friends
  7. It can assist you in charting your career path;
  8. You learn as the internship proceeds and acquire more knowledge – there is no syllabus
  9. During the internship, you are placed under a Supervisor who directs, monitors your activities and ensures that your output meets the required minimum standard.
  10. You learn how to communicate in a real business world – understand how it differs from the classroom communication with classmates and lecturers
  11. It can also be adapted to reduce unemployment
  12. Enables the internee identify and address his/ her skills gap
  13. Makes the internee have an understanding of the operational systems in an industry
  14. Enables internee  apply theoretical knowledge
  15. Provides internees window to exhibit the skills, talents and other attributes to a potential employe

You may do as many internships as you could as it will assist boost your CV and enhance your chances of getting a job. Internship can be a step in the right direction but without contradiction, it can also be a slave labour in the 21st century.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka (Vice President, Eugene+George Consulting)

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