Internships are a key ingredient in making our youth job-ready

We are aware of poor job readiness. As we explore the web of issues starting from mis-aligned curriculum, poor teaching quality, and lacking formative (K12) capabilities, lack of exposure continues to be a very important area.

A continuous feedback or rather criticism from companies that hire young talent is the sheer lack of exposure in our young graduates. This lack of exposure not only affects the growth of the individual’s career but increases early attrition and, more importantly, desists companies from hiring fresh talent.

The criticism is two-fold. Firstly, students do not know what kind of work or responsibilities a particular job entails. They are not aware of what work they would be required to do, how a typical day would look like and hence what skills they would need to have to do well in the job.

Of course, they have no clue if they would enjoy the work.

Secondly, they have no understanding of a real work environment and how they need to manage themselves in the same. This entails basic things like reaching office on time, interaction with colleagues and effective management of time and work.

This lack of exposure to both job roles and the work environment compound the already existing employability/job readiness issues.

To deal with such issues, internships or a temporary position is a great way to give students the required exposure. Internships not only help them in understanding what can be expected of them when they start working full time but also allows them to learn and build their skill set for the same.

Internships also become the crucial link between the academia and the industry by giving exposure of a job or sector to students. Till the time students take up internships, their understanding of the corporate world is restricted to what they are taught in classrooms.

Internships improve their understanding of the role/sector and guide them towards making the right career move in the future. It is a general consensus amongst students that internships help them develop essential on-the-job skills and are an important test of their ability to do well within that particular sector/role.

Our educational ecosystem has neglected internships for a long period of time. Despite internships being a part of every course curriculum, providing access to right kind of internships has been fairly difficult.

While majority of the corporate world and industry is open to the idea of internships, educational institutions and students find it very hard to locate the relevant opportunities.

Interestingly, companies find it hard to find good, dedicated interns. Unlike regular hiring, where there is a dedicated recruitment team, most organizations don’t have a structured infrastructure to help them find interns. While to some extent that is good as it allows various groups and departments within the company to experiment with their internship talent, it does make it hard to find interns.

Technology platforms for effective matching of supply and demand have started coming handy for students and companies alike. An aspiring B.Tech graduate who interned with global brands like Viber and Dell through considers his internship period to be both ‘enriching and exhilarating’. He discovered his interest in marketing and also got a clear understanding of his skill set and what he needs to work on. A platform like, PursueAsia etc today gets over 5000 internships, many of which pay handsomely across 100s of job roles and locations.
While internships help students become career-ready, they are fast becoming an effective mechanism of talent identification. Employers are able to assess the skill sets of candidates and understand their fitment within the organization. Globally, leading organizations with some of the best talent are making full time offers to interns as unlike a short interview, internships are a more efficient way to spot talent. Closer home too, this trend has picked up pace with internships finding its place in the recruitment mechanism of several organizations in identifying young talent.

Internships need to be effectively leveraged in our job market as they are an essential component in solving the employability problem. The significant value that they add to students, institutions and corporations mandates that internships should be brought to the center stage and help in building a merit driven job market.

(Himanshu Aggarwal is co-founder and CEO, Aspiring Minds, a global leader in job-skills credentialing and matching)


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