Students Opting For Internships Over Short Term Courses & Summer Schools

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An unstable global economy is soon creating a competitive space for specialisations, qualifications and especially, experience. Opting for an early internship, in fact, has come to the rescue of many, helping them to pick up the much needed 21century skills. Most leading career counselors interviewed observed that, internships not only provide students with an insight into the real world of work, but also complements their learning, allowing them to even earn at the same time; while organisations that helps aspirant-interns find potential employers, points out that just as students need practical orientation, employers across industries are facing a talent crunch and are more open to training novices. The employers consider internships as their key to gain access to fresh talent.

With a range of new opportunities available, students, too, have started looking for trainee jobs early in their academic careers. A third year law student, who just completed her internship at Crawford Bayley law firm, says, “Even though it is mandatory in our course for students to complete a 20-week apprenticeship over a five-year period, most of us are happy to do it, since it helps us pick up the ropes of the trade — filing petitions, logic of arguing, etc — which are not part of the regular law school curriculum.”

“Internships complement regular academics. It is a great way for students to gain professional experience without waiting for graduation,” explains The Director of Intrax Internships, a US-based organisation that connects qualified candidates from around the world with internships in the US and other major economic centres across the world.

A student, pursuing Bachelor’s of Design at Symbiosis Institute of India, elaborates, “Despite being a second year student, I have had the privilege of working with clients such as Diesel, Airtel and F1, while interning with an advertising agency. I not only gained field experience, but also managed to build a strong portfolio.”

Internships also push students into real world situations. Internships were once predominantly pursued by students at the graduate level, however, more and more students today are pursuing internships while doing their undergraduate studies. A stipend is a strong motivation, but a majority of students take up internships for exposure and to pick up skills. They prefer real-world exposure over added academic qualifications.

Similarly, employers nowadays value students with prior experience. The opportunity of eventually being absorbed into the company one interns with, is also a major incentive for some students. Apart from that, trends such as virtual internships and internships abroad are also gaining momentum. There is growing interest in international internships to acquire a global perspective. Some universities even require that students participate in an internship abroad as a requirement for graduation.

While, experience, convenience and money may be the strong motivators for students who opt for internships, affordability, fresh ideas, eagerness to perform and creating a talent pool are the key drivers for employers.

However, many feel, internship also throws open the risk of being exploited as free labour.

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