Earlier last month I was interviewed by BC Business Magazine about how to create a great internship program. In that interview I gave them 3 rules:
Robert Jago, owner and director of Experience Education Internship Providers Inc., an agency that partners with for-profit schools and private universities to manage internship programs, says millennials “need to have a relationship with people at their host company... they need a mentor and they need to have guidance in their work.”
Jago and his team believe that Generation Y works best in a collaborative environment. Forcing interns to work in a silo, he says, is a flawed strategy, adding that businesses looking to create successful intern programs should follow these three steps.
1. Create a Partnership
Interns can’t flourish if left to their own devices, so make sure there’s someone in the company who can act as a mentor and guide. Don’t hold the intern’s hand every step of the way, but make sure guidance is available when needed. “We received 1,200 to 1,500 reports from interns last year,” says Jago. “Those who are happiest are the ones who have somebody they can touch base with, someone they can ask questions.”
2. Remember, Interns Aren’t Leaders
Just because your intern has unique skills doesn’t mean they should take the lead on projects. An intern may be a master at crafting clever tweets, but that doesn’t mean she should be running your entire social media channel. Interns aren’t the pillars you build on, but pieces that can augment existing teams.
3. Follow the Rule of Three
Internships should be broken up into three separate parts: the tasks that must be completed in order to keep a business functioning, job shadowing and a guided personal project. This balance will allow the freedom and creativity that will keep interns engaged while providing a safety net for any stumbles along the way. But don’t demand too much: “What a Gen-Xer sees as a great opportunity, a Gen-Yer can see as exploitative,” says Jago.
The rest of the article can be found here.