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Jul 11, 2016 3:42 PM CET

The Value of Summer Internship

Summer is the time when a lot of students are applying for internships in companies of their choice. Although the majority (63%) of young people would like to remain in the enterprise they have their internship in, the actual proportion of young people who stay in the same place after the internship period is 25%*. Tele2 Shared Service Center General Manager Kim Leandersson and Career Center consultant of Latvian University Agita Šmitiņa share their advice on how to make good use of the internship period so that the acquired knowledge and experience could help students in their future careers.

Explore not only the specific company but the entire industry as a whole

Before and during the internship the student needs to investigate not only the selected company, but also the outlines of the particular sector. As explained by the Latvian University Career Center consultant Agita Šmitiņa, when applying for an internship the students must be prepared that they will face specific tasks, competences and regulations, where at the same time previously acquired knowledge about the company and its field of action will be highly evaluated. "It is expected from the students that they are interested in the company and theoretically educated in the field of work with an understanding of what is happening," says Agita Šmitiņa.

Show interest and initiative

During the internship period it is particularly important to demonstrate your interest in the work you’re doing. Tele2 SSC general manager Kim Leandersson reveals that "the most important feature that attracts prospective employer's attention, is the new professionals’ motivation and desire to learn. During the internship the most highly appreciated values are each trainee's individual characteristics and strengths, leaving the lack of practical experience in the background. "Thus, the trainee's most important task is to carry out their assignments with a high sense of responsibility, as well as to take the initiative, for example by offering additional solutions to the task.”

Socialize with colleagues

One of the first conditions for the intern to like their chosen work environment is to fit in with the staff collective. This marks socializing with your working colleagues - nowadays networking with other industry professionals is a guarantee for growth in the near or distant future and may provide additional opportunities. As Kim Leandersson points out, "for interns the most important thing is networking and creating a mutual contact with colleagues. Maybe one of them will be your boss later or a co-worker, maybe someone will recommend you for a working position. A strong professional network of contacts will be much more important than the specific skills that are learned during this short period."

Take up challenges

Equally significant for the new intern is to accept a wide range of challenges and agree to do the tasks that are not directly included in the internship contract. During the internship the future professional can find out what attracts them more and what less in the profession as well as get to know individual strengths and also weaknesses. "From the student the incentive to work, learn and do more than required is expected. If so, very often a job position for the student is offered," tells Agita Šmitiņa.

Act as in a permanent work place - show your potential

At the same time the intern has to remember that an internship is the opportunity to show your future employer your skills and potential, as well as your interest in pursuing a career in the specific company. You need to keep in mind that these are just the first steps in your professional growth therefore more successful trainees are those who treat the period of internship as responsibly as a permanent job. As recognized by the Tele2 SSC general manager, "after the internship period, we recruit candidates in those cases when the compatibility is mutual. If we have a vacancy and the trainee has corresponding qualities with the ability to combine work with their studies and future plans, there is a high probability that this new professional will be hired. It is important that we do not discourage students from getting higher education, but find a way how studies and work can be combined. "

However, not always the success of an internship period depends only on the internt It is also important for the company to be a good place for internships. "It should create an environment and an impression that students are welcomed and during the internship are given real tasks. There should be an attractive content where the student sees the meaning of the work being done. It should not be just sorting folders or copying, but the opportunity to learn and gain a useful experience," says A.Šmitiņa.

Also the fastest growing IT company in Latvia, Tele2 SSC is offering students a paid internship to try out their hand in IT and financial fields in 13 different positions this summer. "We believe that you can learn by doing, so, most of the internship period the trainees carry out "real" work with the help of experienced colleagues. They have the opportunity to participate in a special training session for Tele2 SSC, the telecommunications sector and meet with various representatives of the company," says Kim Leandersson.

*A research done by Latvian Employers' Confederation in 2015 "Research on internship availability and quality in Latvia".