According to the 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report from PayScale, “while nearly 90% of recent Engineering colleges graduates feel they’re workforce-ready, only half of their hiring managers agreed with them.”
The NACE survey found the following are the talents that employers are trying to find in their recently graduated new hires:
- Ability to work in a team
- Communication skills (written)
- Communication skills (verbal)
- Problem-solving skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical/quantitative skills
- Technical skills
One way to create these skills is through experiential learning opportunities, including internships. Internships allow students to amplify their chances of post-graduation success and build a far better level of confidence when entering the work life.
Throughout the course of the internship, one can refine all 10 aforementioned skills through meaningful projects and tasks.
For example, you can significantly improve your written language skills through blog writing and content creation. Additionally, your internship can assist you in terms of private and professional development by creating micro-projects on institutional research and analytics, facilitating an open and collaborative work environment, ensuring creative freedom so as to initiate and implement your very own ideas.
The reality is: Employers want graduates with skills and experiences developed outside of the classroom.
Internship programs add value to the student experience. In turn, students who successfully complete internships during their days of engineering college, increase their chances of being a desirable candidate for future employers. Internship programs also help students identify current market trends and employer requirements, thereby impacting the program success and learning outcomes quite positively.
In India, engineering colleges are now organizing special seminars and events to make students aware of internship programs and also guiding them to join better organizations for internships, which helps students in getting PPO (Pre-Placement Offers).
By rethinking your program structure and incorporating internships into the specified curriculum, you’ll prepare your students for the workforce, enhance the scholar experience, and begin shifting the national conversation in a positive way.
If you are feeling such as you could do more together with your internship programs on campus, these four ideas could help:
1. Build Community Partnerships
Universities often partner with businesses within the encompassing area, which establishes relationships and helps tailor institutional programming. By creating these partnerships you’re giving students the chance to further network within the community during which they’re receiving their education. Additionally, you’re making relevant work experiences that are wanted by employers more accessible.
You begin to determine these relationships by hosting specific events like internship fairs or interview days. Offer local businesses access to college job and internship posting boards — those organizations might want to rent your students as interns, but not skills to succeed in you. Do some proactive outreach to attach your students with opportunities for his or her growth.
By doing this stuff you’re mitigating time spent checking out specific partnerships by facilitating an open platform for employers to hunt out your students and you’re making the internship search process less overwhelming for students.
2. Allocate Stipends for Unpaid Internships
One of the things that is less common is universities offering need-based grants/ stipends to participant students, is unpaid internships. Not many know that there are several benefits of enforcing a funding program for internships that are unpaid. By utilizing grants or internships, you’re allowing students to complement their education through meaningful work experiences, acquire skills for his or her professional development, and learn what it’s like to work in a non-profit environment.
Most importantly, these grants and scholarships could grant access to meaningful opportunities for engineering colleges kids who would otherwise not be ready to pursue them without this support. If stipends aren’t an option, consider what sorts of support your institution could offer. If the internship is local and happening over the summer, could your institution offer significantly discounted housing? Could they opt to receive course credit?
3. Intern for Course Credit
And as discussed before, course credit would mean more funding being awarded to the university by the state, improving the general community relationships of your institution, and providing students with more meaningful and positive experiences. A faculty or staff may function as the internship “sponsor” allowing the institution to verify both the standard and amount of labour performed during the internship.
4. Internship within the Classroom
Within the course structure, students would spend a part of their time within the classroom learning about specific “essential skills” and why they are important and applicable to the workplace. Following their conceptual understanding of those skills, they might spend the last half of the course applying the talents discussed.
More specifically, students might be assigned to particular workstations in their institutes or engineering colleges and apply their learned skills through experiences and activities required while on the job. For example, if one student is assigned to the marketing department, that student could also be assigned tasks that might enhance their communication skills through writing tasks or improve their technical skills by designing required spreadsheets and documents.