Internships provide career guidance


Internship programmes are important tools for helping students identify the
most suitable career path, and businesses have a critical role to play in
developing programmes that point students in the right direction.

In the past the varieties of careers or potential jobs were fairly limited.
Education, healthcare and customer service were the main sectors that provided
employment. Today technology and other advancements have created
specialised fields.

While academic programmes give students insight into a chosen career path
they often fail to describe the activities and practices that accompany a certain

Internships give students practical understanding of a career and allows
them to experience the day-to-day today demands of their profession. This
means that students are more prepared to meet the demands and succeed in
their careers.

According to a National Youth Development Agency study an "internship
provided the interns with an opportunity to decide what sort of work fields and
types of work they really were interested in pursuing.'

"It provides interns with an opportunity to know their strengths,
weaknesses and their interests. This is important in that people are likely to be
more productive when they do what they want to do.'

According to the report there are "limited career guidance programmes in
South Africa.' Internship programmes can help to meet this demand.

In order for these programmes to be effective "trained and passionate mentors'
are needed.

"The implication of this finding in the study is that assigning mentors for
interns should not be arbitrary but a well thought through decision and a
systematic process.'

In order to really benefit from the programme students need to be given
tasks that are aligned with their chosen profession. This is one of the major
concerns addressed by the report which revealed that, "interns are not being
provided with adequate opportunities to learn - this happens because some
interns mainly do general administrative work as opposed to work that will
enhance their skills and future employability prospects.'

"However, it is encouraging that 69.5 % of those who participated in the study
felt more than 50% of their work activities were aligned with their

"These findings have relevance for all organisations involved in the
employment of young people, particularly organisations that are currently
implementing or planning to implement Internship programmes.'

Internships help students discover their calling which leads to meaningful
and gainful employment.