INDUSTRY TRAINING GUIDE
How does it work?
The ICMS Internship Program is exemplary in the Australian tertiary sector.
At ICMS we believe that the best learning experience combines practical and ‘real world’ experience with a strong academic foundation. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) subjects are built into all bachelor and master degrees. This gives our students an opportunity to prepare for their future professional career by gaining relevant experience in their chosen industry, learning skills required and gaining valuable contacts and networks.
For our Internship Program Partners the benefits of taking on an intern are numerous:
And if all works out well, you may just find your next permanent junior team member! It is a lot more simple to hire an ex-intern who has knowledge of the company rather than head down a lengthy recruitment process.
Who will manage your Internship Program and your intern? This is the first question you should ask yourself. Is there someone in your company who would relish the chance to step up into this role? They need to be approachable, friendly and welcoming – everything else is secondary.
Where will they sit? Do you have the physical space for another team member? Again, it sounds basic but is extremely important to make them feel welcomed from the moment they start with your company.
Does your budget accommodate a payment or allowance for your Internship Program? Even a relatively small amount can go a long way towards making someone feel accountable and valued. Although are not charged tuition fees during their placement, remember that most students have weekly expenses and living in Sydney can be expensive. Our Internship Program partners understand that a weekly allowance helps students to feel appreciated and is fair, especially if they have had to give up a paid casual job in order to undertake their placement.
How many days per week / hours per day would you ideally like your intern to work? It is wise to manage everyone’s expectations and to make this clear from the start.
Before you start an Internship Program, start a list of the tasks that you feel an intern could handle. Think about what the different members of your team are responsible for on a daily / weekly / monthly basis and decide whether the intern is going to work solely in one department, or whether it will be more of an all-rounder position. If possible, broader exposure to different departments is a great way to introduce your intern to a range of different areas of your business and helps them to clarify their area of interest.
Discuss the possible tasks with your team and see if they can come up with anything else. Ask them what they need help with – this should make everyone excited for the new intern to start! Are there any stretch projects that they can be tackling in the background? This is very useful for companies that have natural peaks and troughs in the workflow pace as it will give the intern an ongoing sense of accountability, as well as keeping them engaged for the duration of their internship. Often you will find that the interns have skills that your team do not. How can you draw on these skills and make the most of them during the internship? For example, could you assign them a project to re-vamp (or create…) your website, social media, client database or events calendar, for example?
Do you have an up-to-date company procedures manual or an intranet which explains ‘how to…’ complete certain tasks within your company? If not, maybe setting this up could be a project for your new intern? Who can they ask for help if they are unsure of where to go next? Hopefully you have hired a team of fantastically helpful people, but if this is not the case will their mentor or supervisor be available to assist them with any questions whenever needed?
Remember what we said before about the basics being important? This is where that really comes in! Don’t forget to tell them… Where to come on their first day (the street address as well as any instructions for when they arrive) If yours is a large company, who to ask for when they arrive, what time they should arrive, what time they should expect to finish (this may be important for them to plan their travel or parking arrangements)
Will they need to bring their own lunch? Are there options to buy lunch nearby? Is there anything else they should bring along (eg. laptop, notebook, coffee cup…)? If they are working from home, what time should they log on and should they use their own laptop?
You don’t need to necessarily tell them what you have planned for them, but it is useful to at least think about the induction process and who will show them around. It saves a lot of time and brainpower if you have at least their first few tasks mapped out for them – that way they can feel like they are making a positive difference to the company from the very first day. Is there anything you can do to make them feel extra-special and welcomed? Could you or one of your team take them around and introduce them individually to the rest of the team (or the department heads if applicable)? Could you organise a little welcome pack or notice to welcome them?
This is frequently a concern for companies who have been hesitant to take on an intern in the past, and is a valid point to raise. Those completing an Internship Program should be treated in the same fashion as any other member of the team who is not performing to the required level. The first way to think about approaching this situation is to sit them down for a chat and to give them the feedback in a constructive manner. They may not realise that there is an issue and it may help them to think of ways that they can improve.
One method of ensuring that the intern is progressing in line with the company’s expectations is to schedule regular review meetings, where they can speak about the tasks they have enjoyed and the type of project that they would love to work on. You may well find that they are not excelling in their tasks because it is not where there passion lies, and if you can find ways to address this early on it could prove to be more beneficial for all parties over the course of the internship. Make a conscious effort to give any minor feedback on a day to- day basis, rather than saving it for any review meeting. This way the intern can be constantly improving their work. Also don’t forget to give praise when it is deserved!
Offer to write them a LinkedIn endorsement or recommendation. Offer to be a referee for them in the future if required. Have they excelled in the role and would you like to offer them ongoing employment? If they have finished their studies this is an option. If they have not yet completed their course maybe you could consider them continuing with the company on a part-time basis. If you are open to it, suggest that you act as a mentor and offer to be a point of contact for them if they have any future career challenges.
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