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Win/Win Internship Programs

Internships should be a key investment for any company looking to improve. While students seek construction companies that will provide them with some experience and an opportunity to gain some valuable skills needed to pursue a professional career, they also have the opportunity to build valuable connections with industry leaders.

This relationship is never one-sided. Companies who have vibrant internship programs also reap rewards. They are provided access to short-term talent with specific knowledge and skills that can help with a particular project or need. Technology, education and trends are constantly changing and interns can provide new ideas and fresh insight based on their area of study or different perspective. It’s a great way for the A/E/C industry, which is often left out of the spotlight to other career paths, to connect with schools and develop a business-school partnership and also increase the visibility of your company on campus. Employees gain personal satisfaction in helping interns grow and can add “mentorship experience” to their skill set and resume.

Here is an example of how the employee-intern partnership works in the construction industry.

Job Shadowing – Assign an intern to a particular employee. Allow the intern to spend a day, week or month with the employee learning, recording and reporting on the experience. In the video above we had a Marketing and a CEO intern shift their roles from the valuable contributions they were making in the office to explore more about construction field opportunities learning what a day in the life of an HVAC technician is like. To complete the experience and provide added value the interns report on the experience to the company’s leadership team, as well as the rest of the company giving other employees a more exclusive look into how a particular department or craftsman operates. While every intern may not have video editing skills, they can report their findings through PowerPoint, Prezi, etc. Though taking the opportunity to learn a new program is highly encouraged.

Job shadowing is just one of many ways A/E/C companies can keep internships attractive, unique and rewarding for interns and employees.

Intern Rotation:  Establishing a scheduled Intern rotation between various departments of an organization or between various roles within a single department allows the intern to experience the different dynamics between departments as well as those between the field and office. This provides the intern with a “big picture” experience which allows them a greater vision in choosing a career path. The company benefits as the positive intern impact is spread across all departments.

Assign a Research Project: In addition to an interns regular tasks, assign a major project such as identifying and reporting all possible safety concerns on a particular site. Another example would be to have them learn about a particular process such as supply chain management and report on their findings and recommendations for improvement.

With the right guidance; exposure to meetings; opportunity to network at association events; and training opportunities interns can prove to be a valuable asset to any organization, large or small.

– Sheldon Shapiro, CEO