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Blog site of  a volunteer activist

  • Writer's pictureIan Wells

How to improve Internships in NZ

In my previous posts I described my experiences with one world-class internship program - the University of Waterloo co-op program.

New Zealand  students and our businesses are competing in a world wide market. World-class internships here will retain talented students and provide a talent pool for local world wide tech businesses.

Can we upgrade our NZ internship programs? I think so.

Internships in NZ currently are  often seen as altruistic contributions to young people and universities.  Instead, let's tap young peoples' talents and skills, and create a program that pays its own way, for business.

We already have Christchurch companies hiring interns internationally. Let's make it easier to hire locally.

It would be cool to have  an internship program that paid interns enough to offset most of their school  costs.

Interns should be able to earn professional salaries. Businesses could pay interns more if it were  shown interns contributed that value to the company bottom line. Professional  salaries will attract more interns.

Businesses often have need for talented young people all year round, all day - not just in summer holidays or 20 hours a week.

Everyone is busy at work. Let's streamline the intern hiring process and then measure its success rate.

 Next steps

Here are a few suggestions to improve internship programs in NZ

  1. Poll our businesses to find out how best to meet their business needs via interns. Get more data focused on  real business needs.

  2. We have so many talented, motivated students. Make it efficient for businesses to find the right student for them. Set up one stop shopping , streamlined process, to make it easy for business to find the right interns for them,   on  a yearly schedule, that meets business needs. Measure the success of this,

  3. One idea, instead of setting up a real co-op program, is to set up a sandwich-year for working. This would not  disrupt academic schedules and would give interns time to focus 100% on work when they are there.  The sandwich year would be after their 2nd or 3rd year, it would be for credit and they would pay tuition fees for this.  The employers would give the grade for this year, as part of their academic record and CV.

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