Does your company have or want to create an internship program? A quality program can be a powerful recuiting tool for new graduates. Not only have you spent summers teaching them what you want your employees to know, you've already gotten to know each other. But what's important to remember is that an intern should not just be an entry level employee pounding hubs all summer because nobody else wants to do it. Internships are about creating the future workforce our profession needs to be successful. Think of it as a two to three month interview for both of you.
Before hiring any intern you should put serious thought into envisioning the knowledge you want a new graduate to know and be able to accomplish their first year as a full time survey technician. Once you have that in mind, how are you going to ensure they learn how to do what you've outlined out under your internship program? To get started, here are some quick points to think about:
- Timeframe: Have a clear start and end point with entry and exit surveys so you can measure how much they learned during their time with you. From that information you can refine your program each year.
- Framework: Write down as many skills and experiences you think would be beneficial for an intern and then work them into an order that flows nicely, building skillsets naturally.
- Establish an Intern Coordinator: Giving interns a point of contact and one person responsible for ensuring they get the most out of their experience is crucial.
- Create a mentor or buddy system: Interns will already receive feedback from their senior supervisor. Creating a system where a more junior employee serves as a buddy to help answer questions can create a more relaxed environment.
- Goals and check-ins: Make sure you both have a clear understanding of what you want out of the experience and then check-in often to see if all expectations are being met. Don't wait until the end of the program to communicate where you both came up short.
- Stay in touch: You can keep teaching them what you want them to know, increasing their responsibility each year. Or simply staying in touch just might land you an amazingly well trained full-time employee.