Internships are essentially a monitored version of work experience, either paid or unpaid, that allows the individual to enhance their skills within a particular field whilst also obtaining crucial workplace knowledge and skills. Internships are on the rise within Australian businesses as they provide an excellent platform to transition potential employees into the businesses activities and culture. 

There has been a dramatic shift in the way that organisations view internships and how beneficial they can be, for both the intern and for business activity. In the past, the term ‘Intern’ often recalled the idea of students completing mundane tasks, such as grabbing the coffee orders for the office or standing in front of the scanner for hours. However, this is not necessarily the case for most businesses. According to a survey conducted by Michigan State University, 57% of companies say that the primary purpose of Internship programs is to develop talent for full-time employment.  


Start the internship process early on, don’t wait for the graduates 

Due to the competitive nature that surrounds schooling, students are no longer waiting until their graduate years to secure a graduate position within a credible workplace. Instead, they are sourcing valuable internships throughout their education to allow them to gain the appropriate skills and knowledge that will assist them in standing out amongst the pack. What this means for businesses is that if they wait to hire graduates, more often than not, the best talent is usually already taken as they have already obtained permanent positions through their previous internships. 

Between November 2013 and November 2018, STEM employment within Australia had grown by 16.5% which is 1.6 times higher than non-STEM jobs. However, the Australian Department of Education released a report highlighting the importance of STEM education, encouraging teachers and parents to recommend the area to students to increase the proportion of students studying STEM. What this means for recruitment is that there is an underwhelming number of students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) compared to the number of jobs available within the market. Businesses need to be proactive and start the search for talent before their competitors, in order to obtain the best talent available.


Cost-Effective for Organisations 

Internships are a great way to train potential employees without having to allocate the time and extra resources whilst paying them quite a significantly higher salary. Sourcing new employees through an internship program allows businesses to groom them in such a way that makes them the perfect fit for the business, whilst simultaneously providing them with a great learning experience. Hiring potential employees through an internship also removes the pressure that tends to come through a normal job, as the interns are hired through an education and learning level which allows for a more open and relaxed communication channel. By the time the internship has concluded, both the business and the intern will know whether they are a good fit to progress into more of a permanent contract. 


Ways to recruit from the Top Intern Talent 

Obtaining the top performing talent can be difficult but there are several tactics which businesses can use that helps to portray them in an attractive light to potential candidates. When hiring interns who are not nearing the end of their education, often it is the business who needs to sell themselves to the candidate. 


Open and Honest Communication

Be honest with your candidates in regards to what they can expect by accepting the internship position. Give the candidates some background context into the business, what the goals of the business are and what the daily activities tend to look like. This information will allow the candidates to visualise themselves within that situation. It is important to be honest as you want to select the best match, as it is a waste of time and resources to hire someone who does not suit the business, especially if it could have been avoided during the interview process. Another key tip is to show that you value the candidates needs and wants. Ask them what they want to achieve within the internship program and in what ways can the business support them. 



Form a relationship with surrounding universities and inform them about your internship program. Universities have career advisors and often hold career expos which are great opportunities to connect with students and source potential internship candidates. 


Online platforms 

Considering that the digital landscape is used throughout most workplaces and education platforms, it only makes sense to continue the search for interns through online resources. Stand out amongst your competitors and build a dedicated internship webpage which will inform the candidates of what you have to offer, which simultaneously cuts down the interview process as you can convince them on choosing you before even meeting with them. Create a section on that site which allows people to apply and answer a range of targeted questions so that you can ensure that you eliminate those who may not be suited for the position. 


Ai Group Talent Solutions are the nation’s only specialised STEM recruiters, connecting businesses with innovative talent solutions. For recruitment in this niche field, contact Ai Group Recruitment today or enquire about our Internship scheme.