The importance of internships in the business context

A importância dos estágios

In a world so competitive like the one of communication, it is essential that we focus, sooner than later, on enriching our curriculum. Internships emerge as one of the many options to do so.

For many, an internship is mandatory, for others, it is simply an option, nevertheless, the experience is very enriching since we put in practice our academic skills in real cases. However, despite what some people think, this experience is not only relevant for the trainee.

This article aims to underline the importance of the internship, not only for the trainee, but also for the entity that recruits them.

First of all, it’s important to enlighten the reader that there are many types of internship, of which we will talk about three of them in more detail:

  • Curricular: are a part of the evaluation of some degrees, and that is why they are mandatory, non-paid and are arranged and regulated by the education institution themselves;
  • Extracurricular: may or may not be paid and they have a variable duration. The applications for these internships are voluntary. Usually, this type of internship starts right after graduation;
  • Professional: these are financed by companies or by community funds, managed by public institutions and they are a part of some national programs, like Medida de Estágios Profissionais promoted by the Portuguese Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional (IEFP).

What are the advantages of internships?

Despite these diverse typologies and legislations associated to internships, we must recognize their importance in general.

The internships allow the trainee to:

  1. Have their first contact with the labour’s market, understanding how it works and learn the usual internal procedures in the companies;
  2. Apply and test, in real and practical cases, theoretical knowledge previously acquired during the graduation;
  3. Obtain further training since this one, in real work context, it is very distinct from previous academic knowledge acquired, because the internship supervisor is someone who has experience in the area*.

It is also on an internship situation that the trainee can actually identify the department or the position which he identifies the most with and also understand the tasks he prefers to do in the future, inside or outside the company that has recruited him. This gathering of information is very relevant for future job opportunities.

On the company’s perspective, this experience may be challenging in the first few weeks, especially for the internship supervisor – usually someone designated inside the department that guides the trainee – because he sees his work divided between training and daily tasks.

However, if well-trained and motivated, a trainee can become a great contribution to a company or organization in several ways, such as:

  • Improvement of results;
  • New ideas;
  • New methods and work processes.

Ideally, during the training, the company or organization should know what learnings were the most important, select a few of them and use them in their own benefit.

In short, an internship is an extremely relevant experience to the trainee and to the employer since it builds a win-win relationship between both parts, overall, a fruitful and enriching relationship where both benefit.

*Note: there are, however, some exceptions. Some education instituitions have teachers who have or had, for a while, some type of experience in the area, which is the case from politechnical institutions.

Mafalda Ferro, Digital Marketing Trainee