2013-05-05

Internship journal: more than just work experience

Corne van Niekerk

My name is Corne van Niekerk and I am the Communications / Public Relations Intern at Drake New Zealand. I am currently completing my Bachelor in Communication, majoring in Public Relations. My project over the next few weeks is to interview the interns at Drake New Zealand, on what they love most about interning at Drake and what they have learned. This internship journal will give you insight into the benefits, for a student, partaking in an internship programme.


Internship benefits for a student


As part of most degree courses, students are required to partake in an internship programme, also known as an Industry Based Learning programme. The internship programme allows students to put the theory they have studied into practice in a work situation, while further developing their relevant industry skills, knowledge, confidence and self-discipline. Internship programmes benefit both the intern and the company; the intern gain hands-on experience and the company benefits by having an additional resource and fresh perspective onboard.


Working in an organisation, interns are able to get a deeper understanding as to how businesses operate, they get exposure to modern workplace technology and software programmes, and they get insight into up-to-date business practices.

 

“Being in a corporate environment has increased my understanding of how organisations and individuals work independently and together” says Jackie Quinlan-Dorbeck, the training and development intern at Drake. “I am required to become familiar with, set up and add information to the Learning Management System (a module that is an extension to the Drake Evolve online core appraisal system). This platform allows for recording of all internal and external learning due and completed by Drake employees,” she adds.


In 2011, Drake New Zealand took on their first internship programme. Since then, Drake New Zealand has had seven interns over the course of two and a half years. The interns focus on different areas whithin Drake, including Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Human Resources, Training and Development, Internal Recruitment, Drake P3 and Performance Management.

 

“People at Drake are very positive and I think they look after each other.This shows a good organisational culture and the importance of this has been stressed at university. The organisation is innovative, tries out new paths and products and constantly appears to be looking for growth areas.” says Jackie.


A note from the author
Taking on an internship programme will benefit students in numerous ways. Before starting my internship, I had limited knowledge on how to present myself in a corporate environment, the technology used in an organisation and the importance of a positive work culture. Working in an organisation that fosters open communication and transparency helped increase my confidence as I was able to learn, make mistakes and ask questions.


This is the third post in a series outlining the benefits of taking on an internship programme. Please read ‘Benefits of hiring an intern’ and 'On-the-job training for professional careers' for more information on the benefits of taking on an internship programme.

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