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Monday, 09 July 2012 11:03

Exposure: Key to the development of interns

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Kalene Naidoo and Abram Molelemane: In the past, interns were generally given menial tasks that were of limited value; however times have changed and more and more, students are now given the opportunity to gain genuine hands-on experience in an industry of interest to them.

Internship responsibilities differ from organisation to organisation, but the common ingredient in successful internship programmes seems to be a chance of exposure to the ‘real’ business world. Some organisations provide interns with the opportunity to really be a part of the team and perform tasks that a qualified employee would normally do. Others also provide them with the opportunity to attend industry-relevant conferences or lectures, which is beneficial to the development of interns in their respective career paths.

Workshops in particular can offer interns access to vital global insights, and they will often get an opportunity to contribute themselves.  

Workshops and industry-related conferences also provide interns with the opportunity to share ideas with other attendees and network with them. By way of example, after attending a recent industry workshop Thantaswa Matshobongwana, a Business Intern at enterprise development agency Fetola, stated that the workshop provided a great platform to meet people with the same interests, and gave her the opportunity to access several experts in her field in a short amount of time.

“I got an opportunity to network with experts and also got a chance to learn more about facts and statistics that will help me better understand my market and industry,” explained Matshobongwana.

Workshops help interns to gain new knowledge, create ideas, establish networking, and identify problems and solutions. For that reason, if interns are given the opportunities, they should actively seek to participate in workshops to broaden their horizons and careers, and in general seek internships that offer exposure to the real workings of the business world.

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