In response to last week’s question on whether interns add value to a work place or just become a hindrance, readers bat for students and call for strong mentoring by employees.
Internship is crucial to give hands-on experience to the student who is full of enthusiasm to have a feel of the work environment. Here the feelings of the regular employees are immaterial. They have no option but welcome the young apprentices.
For this to happen, the employees themselves must be trained to consider the interns as a part of the organization for the brief period that they are there. They should consider it their duty and responsibility to give a lasting and positive experience to the budding managers or engineers.
The interns in turn should have a positive outlook and not be put off by initial setbacks. After all, some adjustment is called for by both sides, for an enriching experience for both.
In the present scenario, interns are impediments to work. For one simple reason, that they are so many.
One can give quality training to at the most two or three students in one season, but these students come in hoards.
These interns have no prior knowledge of the work-place, which is quite understandable. They need to be guided properly, not only about the work, but also about the safety aspects at the work-place. If they come in unmanageable numbers, the quality of training is sure to suffer.
The best way to guide the interns would be to limit their number. Total responsibility of a batch of interns should be assigned to an employee of the organization. These mentor-employees should be rewarded for this extra job --- some sort of recognition, or cash award, or whatever the management deems fit. The colleges also should do their bit in rewarding such mentors, by inviting them to their institutes for guest-lectures etc. Colleges can also offer opportunity for enhancement of educational qualifications to the employees of the organization.
If this takes place, then internship would become a win-win opportunity for the interns, employees and the organization.
It depends a lot on how the organization looks at the interns, and the kind of work on offer. If you consider sales/marketing interns, they are of real value to the hiring organization as they can generate sales or do market research. As the activity is not seasonal, they can do the same work with more or less similar quality at low cost or no cost to the company.
A knowledgeable company can employ an intern in many useful departments for worthy jobs.
Useless without mentoring
Iternships are usually a frustrating experience for students, as they are usually treated as a burden and an impediment in the job process. That is because mentoring , which is part of imparting knowledge to the next in line, is not followed as a process in most organizations in India.
The entire Internships process needs a paradigm shift, by converging academia and corporate training methods. HR teams should take the initiative in understanding the inputs the students bring in. People in the organization should understand and be open to change.