How to adapt work experience and internships during Covid-19

Apr 16, 2020 | Work experience/internships

ISE CEO, Stephen Isherwood considers how student employers can adapt their work experience and internship opportunities during Covid-19.

Our COVID-19: Challenges for student recruitment and development research has told us that in light of the lockdown, many employers have had to cancel their internship and work experience programmes.

Also, closed offices and remote working mean that students cannot be onboarded and inducted in the usual way. And of course work shadowing is not compatible with remote working either.

Organisations focused on dealing with the crisis cannot ensure students will get a meaningful experience, but there are alternatives:

Virtual projects: Offer projects that can be delivered virtually, that students can work on remotely and present solutions back to the employer.

Online training: Deliver a range of skills-based training activities online. These can be grouped together, and recognition offered for students who complete all activities.

Mentors: Connect interns with a mentor in your organisation. This can provide them with insights into your organisation even if you can’t run a full internship.

Educator partnerships: Work with partner universities and academics to deliver online projects or employability skills programmes.

We have been asked a number of questions about how employers are managing their programmes. Here are those most commonly asked along with potential solutions:

Should financial compensation be paid to students who have had their internship cancelled?

Some employers have paid the notice period stipulated in the employment contract. Seek specific advice from your HR teams on the legal aspects of your contracts.

Can students be offered a deferred place later in the year or in 2021?

Some employers have indicated they will run programmes during the Christmas period, others have offered students work experience during 2021.

What should alternative programmes be called as the student is not gaining work experience or taking part in an internship?

Whilst some virtual experiences are real work experience, employers are referring to other new offerings using programme names that reflect a learning experience theme.

How can we recognise the students that we have already selected for internships, even if the internships do not run?

Some employers are offering students accelerated entrance to next year’s graduate or internship programme.

This is an excerpt from ISE’s Student Employer’s Guide to Covid-19, available to download today

Was this article helpful?


Share This