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Five reasons to hire an intern

12 Oct 2017

Interns in Wellington

Whether you have a project that could use an extra set of hands, or need to scope talent for future job vacancies, hiring an intern can be beneficial for both your business and a student looking to gain experience in your industry.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Nail a project

Having an extra set of hands in the office can help you nail that project that’s been on your to-do list for too long.

Martin Asprey, Senior Software Development Engineer and Team Lead from Aviat Networks, says that during the year, ideas for projects come up but they don’t have time or resource to investigate or develop them.

“Some of these become our intern projects, which means the intern is doing valuable work that adds real value to our business.”

It’s worth spending time when interns first come on board to communicate what is expected and provide training if needed for specific tasks. Internship programmes such as Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz have built-in training programmes to help prepare students for the workplace and some resources to assist employers.

2. Get fresh ideas

Sometimes interns can give you new insights – whether that’s towards a younger generation, a different country or just by looking at a problem in a different way.

International students shared knowledge of their home countries with eight Wellington exporters in Victoria University of Wellington's International Markets Insights Programme recently. Jonny McKenzie, Chief Executive of Posboss, said the insights from their student helped determine the feasibility of launching the company's iPad till software in China's hospitality sector. "With Cindy, we got such a great opportunity to learn, without the massive overheads, and for a small company that is a huge bonus."

Our WREDA Destination Marketing and Education teams have also benefited from internships involving international students. Andy from Malaysia worked on a brand perception project, while Irene from China advised on factors determining students’ choice of study location.

WREDA intern
WREDA intern Irene Yang and International Student Growth Business Development manager Christine Pugh

3. Scope talent

If your business is growing, or you want it to, internships are a great way to keep an eye on up-and-coming local talent to fill future vacancies as most interns will be out in the workforce soon.

Jeremy Gold, Engineering Manager of tech company ikeGPS, says internships have been a good way to build their profile. “They help us get a bit more visibility of ikeGPS as a company - we're relatively small, so many people haven't heard of us, and don't know that there's another great place to work right here in Wellington.”

4. Provide mentoring experience

Asking one of your permanent employees to mentor an intern can give them valuable leadership experience.

Martin Asprey, from Aviat Networks, has been mentoring young software engineers for many years. He personally finds it very rewarding and satisfying seeing interns turn their academic knowledge into skills that are useful in the workplace. “At Aviat we share this responsibility so that many of our engineers can develop leadership skills as well as reap the rewards that mentoring offers.”

5. Give back to the industry

Most of us can remember how difficult it was to get a foot in the door of our chosen field. Internships give students a chance to build relevant work experience and see what working in a team is all about.

Cameron Robertson, a recent intern at ikeGPS, will always be grateful for the opportunity. “I was able to find a job pretty much immediately after the internship finished and this came down to the fact that during the internship I was able to gain skills in electronics and also teamwork that I previously did not have.”

“I was surprised by how much knowledge the team had, about not only their work but many other things, and how willing they were to share this knowledge.”

Have you had an intern at your business? How did you find it? Find out more about recruiting an intern, or, feel free to contact me.

Written by Cath Randall, WREDA's Skills and Development Manager.

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