19 May 2016

Are interns worth hiring?

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In recent years, the number of students looking for internships has skyrocketed. As finding a job fresh out of University is much more challenging and employers are hesitant to hire someone without any experience, internships are the relief.

Though we know that internships are beneficial for the student, are they actually beneficial for your business?

Hiring interns do have positives and negatives, but if you find the right one, they can be very valuable for your organisation.

Interns can challenge ‘the way we’ve always done it.’ As students, they bring new ideas and can potentially assist at seeing a better way of doing things that a manager or someone in the role for a longer period of time might not.

This comes at a hot time as the Government released the Budget for 2016-17 and included the initiative of $752 million for the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trail-Hire) Programme to help the youth through Australia’s economic transition. The Budget 2016-17 states:

“More than 50,000 youth jobs were created over the past 18 months. The $840 million Youth Employment Package steps this up with an enterprising new approach to youth employment, and will help up to 120,000 vulnerable young people over four years take advantage of job opportunities as the economy diversifies and transitions to broader‑based growth.”

Now is the time to give youth the opportunity for the real work experience they need to get a job.
An article with Entrepreneur shares five key advantages to hiring university students – each one I would agree with.

They come with a lot of energy.

Interns will most like be younger and want to prove themselves in their first real corporate working experience, so they come in refreshed and eager to learn. They are ready for a challenge!

They are inexpensive.

Businesses only have to pay interns minimum wage in most instances or they even work at no cost when you hire an intern through associations or university programs.

They come with fresh ideas.

They might find a creative way of doing a task, something you might not ever thought of on your own.

“It is really true that young people have good ideas, in part because they come to problems from a position of naiveté, which is actually an asset.”

Also, Gen Z and Millennials have a tech-savvy persona, knowing more than you think with new trends in social media, computer programs, systems, and much more.

Good interns turn out to be some of the best full-time employees.

An internship is a great way to see how much potential a student or recent graduate has in the field – and as you are able to see their skills, you have the opportunity to decide to bring them on as a full-time, paid employee.

“Internships are not just a way of attracting full-time candidates; they’re a way of finding and hiring new full-time employees who are very familiar with your corporate culture.”
 “An internship is a try-out period for both buyer and seller.”

They will accomplish the “unreasonable.”

Students and recent graduates do come with lack of experience, but this can be a good thing as less experienced youth will be less restricted to what they think they should do – this allows them to think ‘outside the box’ and work creatively.

“Younger people don't yet have the limits that they eventually benchmark themselves to because they simply don't know what they are not capable of. On this note, it’s important to give interns meaningful work or even "big idea" projects.”

If you are considering hiring an intern, review their resume closely and make sure as their manager and mentor you have the time to continue to train and mentor. Otherwise, their youth, energy and creative minds can be a value add and even help your business grow in unexpected ways.

Interested in discussions around youth employment? Check out Akolade’s just released Youth Employment Forum being held in Sydney this August which covers the best practice strategies to advance and enable youth employment, participation and engagement in the current, and future workforce.

After finishing University with a degree in Business Marketing, I decided to make a big jump across seas for the first time and move from the east coast of America to Sydney, Australia. I landed my first job in a sales position in the event industry and soon thereafter moved into a marketing assistant role – following I had the pleasure of interviewing with Akolade which got me to where I am today.

Akolade is a fun, innovative company that brings together people from different walks of life to implement change. As the Marketing Manager, I have the pleasure of wearing many hats which motivates me to succeed, reach people in an array of avenues, grow our events to their full potential, and raise our story. As for me, I am a kind dedicated woman who loves to work hard, exercise, cook, be social and have some fun.

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