We love to share our knowledge. So here are our top 10 tips for internships. We’ve designed many internships and delivered a lot of training. Let us share our award-winning expertise.

  1. Talk to your line managers

And do it long before your interns arrive. Tell them about the wonderful interns you have recruited and tell them WHY it’s important to deliver an exceptional internship experience. Get them personally bought in.

  1. Provide structure to your interns

Show them that you have thought about their journey with you. Tell them what they can expect from you and when.

  1. Show interns success

How have your previous interns been successful? What did they do during the internship to make them successful? Tell your new interns. They will be like sponges.

  1. Measure success and satisfaction

Demonstrate the importance placed on the internship by measuring success. Be obsessive about it. Follow it over time. Set internal goals.

  1. Think about induction

There is a big gap between graduate training and intern training. Consider the subtleties and ensure that training is practically focused.  There’s no time to do the theory – interns have to make an impact quickly.

  1. Reflective learning

Get interns to reflect on their learning and to take responsibility for it. Internships finish quickly, so give interns the tools and the map they need to learn fast. Think about giving them the responsibility for their own learning journal. This is powerful stuff.

  1. Do a super-quick soul search

This may seem stupid, but asking yourself what your want interns to see, think and feel about your organisation after their time with you is an important question. Give it a try. It’s not that stupid.

  1. Think about words

Make sure you have some essentials in place that interns need to get from their internship.  This includes consideration of key words:  challenge, support, ownership of tasks, motivation, community, or the bigger picture.

  1. Know the difference

Think of your internship as part of a recruitment continuum. Don’t replicate what you do with your graduate cohort with your interns. They’re not the same people and they have different needs.

  1. Train to retain

Make sure that the quality and impact of your training turns heads.  Make sure that interns are going back on campus and recalling those star moments where “things made sense”.

Ones for later:

Tell the business about your successes after the internship.  But consider what you are telling them.  Make sure the business can link the internship success to the overall success of the organisation

Consider decision support.  When that full-time offer is made at the end of the internship, there are frequent reports of interns not being offered adequate support and guidance at this stage.  Accepting the offer is not in the bag – what can you do to support this important decision and ‘bag it’?

Want more tips? Get in touch.

By Colette Weston

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