Starting an internship program for your business may seem daunting with so many questions like, ‘What’s the first step?’ ‘What would an intern do?’ ‘Can our business even handle an internship program?’ Fortunately, starting an intern program is just like starting any new program or project – you just need a plan. Once you have a plan in place, it’s as easy as checking off a list, and before you know it, your plan of action is in motion.
Before launching your program, here are a few key elements that should be established and included in your plan of action:
- Establish an internship coordinator – Designate one person to head your program that will be in charge of everything from collecting resumes, to coordinating interviews, to assigning work.
- Create a mission statement or outline – Determine what you want your program and interns to accomplish.
- Create tasks that benefit both parties – Create a list of tasks you want interns to perform. These tasks should assist your business as well as teach interns something that can help them in their future.
- Create acceptable tasks – Most interns will be coming in with little to no prior experience, so assign work that matches their level of experience. Acceptable tasks include filing, answering phones, sorting databases, attending meetings, typing up reports, etc.
- Offer school credit – As many internships are unpaid, it is important to offer college credit. Fortunately for you, this responsibility lies with your intern and their career director. You just need to make the offer clear.
- Get to know your intern’s skills and strengths – Find out your intern’s specific work-related skills and knowledge that they can bring to the table as an asset for your business.
- Set specific dates – Keep your program organized with specific dates for applications and work duration.
Internship programs are generally beneficial to everyone involved. Make the most of the opportunity!