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Hotwire PR Consultant, Malebogo Phillip, chats to Kabelo Binns on bridging the gap between the classroom and the office
What in the world is going on? What the heck am I supposed to do? Oh no I screwed up!
The first 3 weeks of my first ‘real’ job were a whirlwind of those questions, panic attacks and nervous jumps every time my phone rang or my name was called. Safe to say, my transition from the classroom to the office wasn’t so easy – but why? Simple: I should have interned a lot more.
The importance of internship cannot be stressed enough. The world’s brightest mind is still clueless without experience. There are things that cannot be taught in the classroom that only experience can teach. As Batswana, we need to enroll more in internship programmes and not wait until we’ve graduated to gain experience. I always say had I had a part-time job during my studies, I would have progressed in my career at a faster pace.
On the other side of the fence, one may wonder how does having an inexperienced intern be of any use to me? What we seem to often forget, is an internship programme is not one sided but quite symbiotic. The organisation gains a fresh, new perspective on organisational issues as well as innovative ideas which are able to get the company ahead. Sometimes permanent staff have been conditioned to have ‘tunnel vision’ and think within the main frames of the organisation which may inhibit out of the box ideas; or may have run out of drive and inspiration. Que in the intern whose creativity still runs wild with their thoughts unhinged by experience and monotonous schedules to save the day. Their novel insight might be just what the organisation needs to get their spark back.
An internship programme is also crucial for an employer to easily spot new and promising talent. Additionally, whilst they are trying to learn new skills, you also benefit by getting either tedious or important work done by them. Bonus points? Interns are often eager to please and impress so they will make sure they go the extra mile even with the simplest tasks – easy win.
Moreover, during a time when the unemployment rate is disturbingly high, your organisation is contributing to the solution through their internship programme. The best part? There is fulfillment in knowing that you played a role in development and mentorship of an up and coming rising young talent. Never forget to send the escalator down when you’re all the way at the top.