Benefits of Internship
Internships are designed to expand the depth and breadth of academic learning for you in your particular areas of study. It is an opportunity for you to receive experience in applying theories learned in the classroom to specific experiences in the community and work world. An internship can also heighten your awareness of community issues, motivate you to create opportunities, embrace new ideas, and lead positive change. A successful internship can give you valuable information in making decisions about the direction of future studies or employment.
An internship is an opportunity to use and develop industry-related knowledge and skills and enhance some of the skills transferable to any professional work setting. This internship may be your first introduction to the world of work, or maybe you have been exposed to professionalism many times before. No matter where your skills and understanding of professionalism lie, your internship is a chance to develop them even further.
OUTCOMES OF INTERNSHIP
1) Linked academic theory to practice in your discipline.
2) Applied your knowledge, skills, experience to a work environment.
3) Acquired new learning through challenging and meaningful activities.
4) Reflected on the content and process of the learning experience.
5) Advocated for your learning in alignment with internship goals.
6) Demonstrated professional skills in the workplace.
7) Built and maintained positive professional relationships.
8) Demonstrated awareness of community and organizational issues.
9) Identified, clarified, and confirmed professional direction as it relates to your academic studies and future career path.
10) Developed self-understanding, self-discipline, maturity, and confidence.
11) Developed vital networking/mentoring relationships.
Top Strategies for Making the Most of Your Internship
BE A CONSCIENTIOUS INTERN
Show your employer you are a good intern by showing up when you are scheduled, being on time, using your time efficiently, limiting socializing with other co-workers, using your breaks and lunch hour appropriately, and avoiding the gossip and rumour-mill.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
Many successful service-oriented companies hold a common belief. In addition to providing their standard services, these companies constantly strive to go above and beyond their customers' expectations. You will be more likely to receive favourable reviews and be considered for full-time employment if you exceed your employer's expectations.
DISPLAY ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM
There is no bigger downer in a workplace than working with someone hostile and apathetic. The opposite is true when working alongside someone who is excited and eager to get a job done. The most successful interns display an upbeat attitude and a genuine interest in performing their roles.
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
An internship is a great way to get experience, and it is a great way to make connections in your field. It would be best if you tried meeting as many people as possible while at your internship.
The following categories represent broad types of learning goals:
● BROADENING HORIZONS
● DEVELOPING WORK SKILLS
● CAREER EXPLORATION
● LEARNING ABOUT THE WORK ENVIRONMENT
● INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
● TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
SKILLS REQUIRED FOR INTERNSHIP
1) Communication skills
2) Interpersonal skills
3) Problem-solving skills
4) Teamwork skills
5) Analytical skills
6) Strong work ethic
7) Organizational skills
8) Leadership skills
SALARY AND BENEFITS
Another essential component of a successful internship is to establish (in writing) how much the intern will be paid and how often. Most internship training agreements will require this information. Though wages may vary widely from field to field, employers must make sure they are competitive or offer competitive incentives. Some internships exist as unpaid positions, but they are becoming increasingly rare, and most students will desire some compensation for their hard work. Internships are designed for continued learning, and though employers can stress to potential interns that it's "what you learn, not what you earn," at this stage of a student's life, competitive wages are still essential and will continue to be important in securing the "best" interns. For companies that are not willing to pay higher wages, other incentives may be explored, including reduced or free housing, gas allowances, equipment "price breaks," personal use of company equipment, or providing free uniforms and hand tools. Two of the biggest deterrents for many students securing an internship involves the distance traveling to and from work and finding "affordable" housing and living arrangements. If employers can explore and possibly find nearby, affordable housing "prior" to the internship, that can be a great incentive for many potential interns. Many internship employers provide additional incentives for interns, such as the opportunity to attend staff meetings and attend paid educational seminars, workshops, and field trips. These "perks" go a long way in increasing student morale and satisfaction and serve to show how much the company values their interns.
Characteristics of a Quality Internship
Just as intern students commit time, energy, and skills to work and achieve benefits for the employer, the employer must devote the same to the intern student's growth and learning in the workplace. Employers must remember that an essential element that distinguishes an internship from a short-term job or volunteer work is that an "educational" internship has "measurable learning objectives" structured into the "educational" experience. Interns should not be hired "just to work" but rather to learn as well. They need to be allowed to not only apply and build on previously learned skills but learn new techniques and skills and become proficient in them.
1) Professionalism: You will need to demonstrate a professional attitude towards your work from day one.
3) Work ethic: Unlike professionalism, which governs your overall behaviour during the workday, work ethic relates to what you bring to the job — your contributions to the overall success of the company/ organization.
4) Orientation and safety first
5) Going beyond expectations: Some essential advice is to work hard and do more than your share.
6) Performance evaluations
7) Concluding your work experience
8) Completing your academic work
1) Taking stock of what you have learned:
After you have completed your first internship, you should take some time to reflect on what you learned, what you liked, and what you did NOT like about the employment.
2) Updating your resume:
Your next step is to update your resume, adding considerable detail about your experiences on the job. Be sure to include a list of equipment operated, various work performed, and any novel or exceptional work you did.
3) Reviewing your performance:
When you get copies of your performance evaluations and comments from your coordinator who assigns your grade, look it over carefully and thoughtfully. This is a significant opportunity for some self-examination. It will help you greatly in your future employment if you can improve your communication skills with others.
POINTS TO REMEMBER THROUGHOUT THE INTERNSHIP
1) Re-evaluate and discuss your learning goals as the internship progresses
2) Treat your internship as a serious responsibility and professional opportunity
3) Dress appropriately
4) Be punctual and reliable in reporting to the internship site
5) Communicate regularly with your Internship Supervisor about the progress of the internship
6) Ask for what you need. Don't expect anyone to read your mind if you lack information, are confused or are bored
7) Notify the CLS of an internship site/supervisor changes or problems at your internship site
8) Communicate regularly with your Faculty Sponsor and complete all the assigned academic components of your internship (if approved to be credit-bearing)
9) Notify your Internship Supervisor as soon as possible if you are going to be late or absent. Ask for permission in advance for personal time off
10) Arrange with your Internship Supervisor to complete make-up days for any absences
11) Transportation to and from the internship site is your responsibility. Use common sense regarding safety precautions.
• Maintaining confidentiality regarding information accessed on any patients, clients, members,
customers, employees, and products or services associated with the internship site
• Reporting to the internship on time
• Using appropriate written and oral expression in all interactions with College personnel, managers, Internship Supervisors, employees, the public, and clients
• Participating in any orientation or testing required by the internship site
• Observing all established safety and sanitation codes
• Engaging in positive, ethical, legal behaviour
• Accepting responsibility and accountability for decisions and actions taken while at the internship site
• Ensuring that all interactions with guests, patients, clients, members, customers, the public, and fellow employees are conducted with dignity and respect toward every person.
Tips for Getting Started in Your Internship
In the first weeks of your internship, you will want to follow your internship supervisor's lead and spend time getting acquainted with your co-workers, the work setting, and your work activities. Work situations vary considerably. A general rule to follow when you are unclear on a procedure or who does what - is to ASK.
WHO - Who does what in your work setting? Who is responsible for whom? Is there an organizational chart you can look at? To whom can you turn for different types of information? Who makes decisions? What are the important names and telephone numbers you should know?
WHAT - What are your responsibilities? What specific duties are you expected to do on your own, do when told, and monitor regularly? Are these consistent with your learning goals? If not, review them with your Internship Supervisor. What are the office/department's goals, functions, services of the office/department, and how does it relate to the larger organization?
HOW - How does work get done? Do co-workers help one another, or is work carried out independently? Are you expected to seek instructions and directions frequently or have your work reviewed as it proceeds?
WHERE - Where are essential items kept? Where is resource information located? Where are you permitted to go, and what are off-limits?
WHEN - When are the critical deadlines? When are critical or regular meetings with staff or clients? What are the best times to approach certain people?