Guiding Interns Through Internships

Working remotely is now the norm due to the Pandemic. Remote internships are desirable for many organizations because it saves time, and it is cost effective. It is important for a TC Camp subscriber to know how to support all their interns and remote workers with the proper tools and resources. The subscriber should be an advocate for interns who are seeking a positive experience from organizations to build skills and knowledge that will elevate their work experience. A vital part of the experience is being immersed in an inclusive environment to fully understand the relevance and value of the internship. An organization's infrastructure is the bedrock for successful remote work, thereby setting an exemplary standard is essential so that an intern or a remote worker can benefit from the experience.

Without a strong infrastructure the intern’s experience can be frustrating and not very rewarding, or productive. For example, the research work titled Remote TPC Internships: Infrastructures for Success done by Jennifer Bay, Gracemarie Mike Fillenwarth, Christine Masters-Wheeler demonstrating that an organization’s environment needs to be nurturing and respectful of both the intern and the company’s time and resources. Some interns may lack the foundation of office protocol, but all interns are seeking opportunities to gain as much knowledge, exposure, and training, and should be treated as part of the team.

The evidence shows that a structured internship program will provide a more satisfying and rewarding environment for both the intern and the organization.  An intern needs to have the necessary guidance and tools that would be favorable for both the intern and the establishment. The authors suggest that to remedy any misunderstandings or confusion, clear guidelines should be delineated from the beginning. Because interns are university students and may lack work experience, it would be beneficial for the organization to provide a structured plan like a syllabus. This process will eliminate challenges for remote interns who are used to structured asynchronous courses and the opportunity to succeed is greater. 

Here are some steps an intern can do to help create more structure for themselves:

  1. ask as many questions as possible,
  2. ask for an outline of what the internship entails, 
  3. learn how they will be supervised, 
  4. understand what kind of training will the intern receive,
  5. learn the organization’s written policies on remote work, and 
  6. seek out a peer mentor who can also provide feedback. 

Speaking from experience, I value a well-structured environment because it is conducive to my functionality and productivity. While I can work independently and meet my goals, it is imperative for me to have a well-constructed plan, with assignments and due dates for me to achieve my goals. It would also be key for me to have proper training and to be included in an environment that is mutually beneficial to me and the organization. 

Resources

Remote TPC Internships: Infrastructures for Success, by Jennifer Bay, Gracemarie Mike Fillenwarth, Christine Masters-Wheeler


Viewpoint Written by Anjanie R. Fairbairn, Texas State University

Edited by Andi Silva, Texas State University


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