Our one-day work experience events educate and inspire students who have an initial interest in your organisation and want to find out more about what you do, and the roles available to them.
For some students, however, they need extra reassurance and time speaking to professionals at your company to decide that it's the right fit. Which is why, at Uptree, we’ve found that sometimes more is better.
Along with Get Employed (our online application workshop series) we’ve started supporting our partners to offer students longer internships. The follow your Uptree work experience days, to seriously engage students in your brand and convert that interest into an outstanding application.
So what do we mean by longer internship or work placement?
The national careers service states that ‘a work placement is time spent in a workplace learning about a job role, a company or a career sector. These are usually anything from 1 week to 9 months in length.’
Following success with some of our pioneering partners, such as Europa Capital, we’ve successfully helped connect motivated students to these week-long (or longer!) virtual internship and work placement programmes. This has given selected young people an in-depth experience of what it’s like in the professional world.
As more companies realise the value of longer opportunities for students, we took stock and spoke to some of our amazing Uptree student ambassadors, a group of 21 Uptree students that meet regularly as part of our first-ever student focus group, about their experiences of internships and work placements and what they’d recommend to any company starting out.
Here's what they had to say...
Students are used to having a timetable to block out each hour of the day at school, so our ambassadors recommend having a structured internship, with a start time, finish time and breaks.
Planning a set agenda will aid students' learning as well as putting them at ease before the experience
Although this might seem obvious, you don’t want to find that an intern or placement student has stayed late into the evening doing a task as they didn’t realise they could go home or log off! Whilst we work virtually, it’s even more important to make time for regular breaks and this is something Uptree already encourages during our 1-day work experience events with students.
During a longer opportunity, it’s good to have the same approach, or as one ambassador put it ‘please no back to back hour long Zooms!
We agree everyone needs a tea break whilst learning..
Strength in small numbers
Being selected for a longer internship by a company can be an exciting but daunting achievement for a young person.
Our ambassadors consistently shared how important it was that the majority of the internship or placement was delivered in smaller groups
Whether you only invite a small number of students in the first place, or you organise their days to breakdown attendees group size, this is a great way for your team to really get to know the students attending. It also ensures that students get the most out of their experience, giving them the chance to not only talk to each other but also ask questions and get to know your brand.
An internship or work placement is a prime opportunity to share your brand with students. However, longer opportunities also provide students with valuable time to find out what they want from an early careers role and build a network. A win-win.
To make sure the experience benefits the students as well as your company, it's important to make time for networking.
A great idea suggested by our ambassadors is to implement a mentor or buddy system for the duration of the opportunity where a student has a member of staff they can talk to, learn from and go to with any questions.
Peer-to-peer and employee networking are both amazing opportunities for students to develop their soft skills such as communication, problem solving and presentation
Alongside professional student networking, longer internships or work placements can also be an invaluable opportunity for peer-to-peer networking. For all students and young people, building their professional skills and confidence is central to their career success and an opportunity offering this would be more attractive to them.
Our network agreed that soft skills such as team building, networking and problem solving were important to include, and being able to network with peers was the best way to do this.
Be a culture hero
Whilst job roles, salaries and day-to-day tasks are all important things to convey to the students during a longer opportunity, so is your company culture.
More and more, we are seeing the younger generation looking to work at a company that embodies their values and culture ideals. So this is the perfect time to really get yours across.
To do this, you could make time during their days for a casual chat amongst staff members, or invite them to a social event such as a tea break or charity fundraising event
One of our ambassadors suggested making a Whatsapp group for the interns to chat amongst themselves and maintain their relationships and networks after the experience. You could even do a virtual office tour!
Get down to business
Our Uptree focus group is motivated and engaged, and always up for a challenge. That’s why they requested being given a situational or real-life project or task to work on over the course of the opportunity.
Having a task to work on gives young people clear objectives throughout their experience and a real chance to build soft skills required for your company such as teamwork, presentation skills and confidence. Even better, you could get business professionals to come and give feedback to the students at the end of their time, giving them a tangible outcome and tips on how to move forward.
Having something to work towards, such as a final project or presentation, which they receive feedback on gives the students a learning opportunity and a goal to work towards
So what are you waiting for?
As the world continues to stay virtual, we all have to adapt and work with it. For our partners who have worked with us to put on longer virtual opportunities like internships and work placements, they have reaped the benefits.
Better student outcomes, engagement, brand awareness and relatability, as well as supporting students when they need these opportunities the most.
If you’d like to find out more about working with Uptree to connect students with your internship or work placement scheme, please get in touch at email@example.com