A recent article in Forbes discussed the importance of internships and their virtues:
- helps the remote intern gain insight on what the real working world is like. Prior to receiving a remote job offer and accepting it, many interns lack perspective on the daily life of a professional worker. An internship allows the intern to become better acquainted with the average professional work week and the demands to be placed upon him or her.
- provides the remote intern with the non-punitive chance to make mistakes in a safe environment without the threat of immediate dismissal.
- gives the remote intern the chance to network with colleagues and establish relationships that could be relied upon when seeking other job opportunities and when searching for a job related solution to a problem.
- offers the prospect of meeting mentors who can help guide the intern's future career development, serve as a job reference and a beacon of support when seeking opportunities for promotions and career advancement.
The benefits of securing an internship that resonates with current college students and recent college graduates are that remote interns can:
- experiment to see if the job tasks assigned by the employer during the remote internship period are a good fit with their interests.
- establishes a baseline platform for aligning topics learned in a classroom environment with the skills demanded in a working environment.
- gives the remote intern a leg up on competition where the intern will gain experience and self confidence having worked in the real world prior to needing to obtain that first real job upon graduation.
- shows prospective employers that you have the drive, work ethic and determination to hold down a real job as a professional.
- allows the remote intern the chance to observe the operations of a company within one's chosen career path from the inside.
Margaret Stacy-Duffy an assistant director at North Central College points to the fact that an internship experience helps the intern build their skill base in these competencies (as established by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE):
- enhanced career, professional, and self development
- improved communication skills
- deeper knowledge, understanding and application of critical thinking competencies
- expanded appreciation for equity and inclusion
- sharpened leadership and management skills
- improved professionalism
- cultivated opportunities to work in teams
- enriched chances to explore technological and technical acumen
Unlike traditional corporate training initiatives, internship and apprenticeship programs often provide a no cost or low cost method for adding to the headcount without comparable costs incurred. This feature of employing interns is emphasized during recessionary periods when companies want to maintain productivity without adding employees.
To underscore the exorbitant costs for traditional employee training, Skillsoft experts argue corporate training is the first area to be cut when the economy slows down. For this reason, internships can play a vital role in maintaining business continuity.
What advice does The Remote Internship give to current college students and recent college graduates? Even if a remote internship is secured (or not), college students and college graduates should try to obtain these skills (according to WEF):
- analytical skills
- self management
- active learning
- stress tolerance, and
This list of required skills for the remote workforce is consistent with the European Commission in its Self Management Session in Remote Environments emphasizing the importance of self management. Self guided learning, self initiation of work projects, and self motivation to see remote job tasks to completion are important attributes essential to remote work. Employees working remotely will receive less in-person supervision and feedback. This necessitates a higher level of personal responsibility, time management, self monitoring, self awareness, and metacognition.