Internship for professional careers are similar in some ways to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs, but the lack of standardization and oversight leaves the term open to broad interpretation. Interns may be college or university students, high school students, or post-graduate adults. These options may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary.
Generally, an internship consists of an exchange of service for experience between the student and an organization. Students can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, to create a network of contacts or to gain school credit. Some interns find permanent, paid employments with the organizations for which they worked for upon completion of internship. This can be significant benefit to the employer as experienced interns often need little or no training when they begin regular employment. Unlike a trainee programme, employment at the completion of an internship is not guaranteed.
Before internships started, students had mixed feeling about it, especially those who were placed internally with GIJ Online, Radio GIJ and The Communicator/PR Today newspapers. Those who were going to begin with the external placement and had in their opinion “good placements” were excited about; others were just indifferent. Some students were just skeptical that this whole “two months in, one month out arrangement” would work out well.
About weeks on and students seem to be getting the hang of things. Interns have been able to come up with good stories for radio news. The online team has put up some stories as well and the newspaper and documentary teams have been busy gathering and putting together their own stories. Could it be that internship is not as bad as students really thought? What has been the feedback from supervisors? After having a feel of the internship what has been the general impression of students and what are some of their concerns?
The general response is positive, with a few students commenting on the stress involved, especially in searching for information and putting together the story. Some students at the radio section believe that this internship has been very helpful because doing internship outside, they would not have been given the opportunity to speak on radio so early; they are able to do so at Radio GIJ.
A student with the TV production team mentioned how helpful the internship is as she has been taught how to operate a camera and is learning how to edit videos.
The online team, the first of its kind on GIJ campus is not slacking, either. There is the problem of students not being time conscious. Some come very late and some leave before their shift is over. Thankfully, supervisors are taking note of all these; the same way they acknowledge and laud the good work some students are doing. As has been told to students, this in-house internship aside giving us hands-on experience is also for academic purposes.
There is also the benefit of teamwork and creation of new relationships. Through this in-house internship, we have met people that we did not even know were in GIJ. We have made new friends and created some profitable relationships that would come in handy later in life. We are learning how to tolerate people with different temperaments and how to manage in the work environment.
From the look of things, students who are really putting in effort are seeing it pay off. They are accepting that this is the pain that leads to the gain; displaying your name proudly on a work that one did by themselves. There are also some who also think that the in-house internship is does not give the workplace feel because they have a lot of free time on their hands.
Soon, students will be made to change over: some would go out, some would come in, some inside would shift. At the end of it all, what matters is what did one learn? How much effort did one put in? And what is one bringing to the table when we finally go out of the school environment to seek for jobs?
It may seem like the time allocation for the internship is too little, but better little than nothing at all.
BY: Phoebe Dadzie (L300)
Hamidu Abdul-Lateef (Dip1)