The Impact of Internships on Graduate Employability Research Paper

June 25, 2018 Studying Tips

The current graduate internship program centers focus on the employability of soft skills essential for the acquisition and probable retention of a job. Handy training is important to enhance a graduate's employability and for beneficial application of knowledge.

Interns' Suitability and Retention

Retention of a new graduate is a challenge to many companies. Turnover among the qualified graduates is elevated due to their skills to pursue and locate alternative employment and the low supply of acquainted employees in the job market. Newly allotted employees find it easy to leave and are regularly looking for improved prospects or more rewarding jobs in serious firms and of prestigious background. A good example is a particular case in the I.C.T Sector in South African. A study on required skills indicated that, in 2006, there were 104000 staggering vacancies in that sector; these positions comprised 46 percent of vacant posts. Therefore, it is imperative that companies hold on to new graduates if they are skilled, suitable, and respond positively to on-job training, especially if there exist high demand levels of competent employees in all sectors. On the other hand, the problem is made worse by the fact that, in reality, firms are normally not able to exercise new graduates to top up their skills and requirements due to the same issue that most graduates possess the qualifications but lack the practical experience and skills. Other reasons why most new graduates are not employable are as follows: vast amounts of new graduates emerge annually (and they do not possess the skills of practical employees); graduates are not suitable for specialist posts; duly skilled staff are frequently poached from other companies. Therefore, graduate employers face the challenges of providing promoting and supporting appropriate forms of job experience (reliable rather than fixed) for new graduates. Programs to support graduates to do well in the real-world's context of the working environment, providing graduates with the opportunities to raise the assets they acquire from the university experience, thus optimizing their successful move into organizations.

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Benefits of Soft Skills

During the present financial situation, the necessary soft skills of teamwork, such as delegating, communication, appraising, motivating and presenting, appear to be key principles to making organizations more profitable and efficient places to work. This fact is one of the factors why companies are not just evaluating their current staffs and probable future recruits on their business, hard, and technical skills, but on the required soft skills as well. Effective soft skills comprise the ability of employees to balance the commercial requirement of their companies with the personal needs of their personnel, while flexibility and the ability to adapt to the necessary needs of an organization appear to be rather essential soft skills. Such features help to collaborate and influence situations via lateral and creative thinking. In addition, Menochelli identifies some of the interpersonal/soft skills: motivation, kindness, friendliness, team spirit, team cohesiveness, negotiation instead of confrontation, understanding of diverse cultural and historical variance, motivation, team spirit, procedures or company etiquette, observance of rules, meaningful interpersonal skills, politeness, concise language, showing interest, solving skills, solid relations with various personality types, good inter-personal communication dexterity, sociability, and similar characteristics. Very few companies are untouched by the ever-broadening influence of close cultures; thus, excellent soft skills facilitate improved communication and the employee's ability to handle differences effectively.

There is a growing credit that interpersonal abilities are not only useful in business today; they are vital for today's extremely focused, streamlined and downsized organizations where employees tend to work in a string of small, frequently temporary teams or workgroups, which are organized to reach short-term goals. From the above observation, it can be deduced that basic soft skills development is essential for the integration of new graduates into existing workplaces.

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Another feature to consider is the graduate's inability to work independently following the workplace experience and exposure. Some universities of technology have put in place the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) – a prototype of preparation, where graduates are supposed to spend time at workplaces. According to the study, university graduates normally lack the chance to gain working skills in their fields; although colleges often dictate students to complete their internships before graduation, these practices are rarely implemented. The problem is intensified by the fact that most companies do not want to invest in trainings, or fear that other companies will eventually poach staff once trained. Various researches proved that work experience is a major determinant of graduates getting suitable employment. Most studies conclude that the most regularly cited aspect for obtaining their position by graduates surveyed who were very satisfied with their career progress to present was having hard relevant work experiences. The gains of undertaking job experience while learning includes developing work ethics, developing personal and interpersonal skills, time management, enhancing the relationship with other employees, improving environment etiquette and communication, and applying to study and the ability to develop erudition.

Expectations versus Qualification

From a psychological viewpoint, it is evident that the expectations of most graduates are very high sometimes. They anticipate that their qualifications will pave the way to high management positions and salaries. On the other hand, they are not prepared to learn the skills that lay the basis of their future employment and often feel that they do not require to start at the bottom as they consider themselves highly competent in comparison with older existing workers, who do not have matching qualifications. More significantly, new graduates anticipate to be treated fairly and at par with their highly experienced peers, particular to the human rights ethos which permeates higher education institutions today. Similar concerns noted in the paper may be relevant in the knowledge within the work context where graduates' internship programs have been put into practice.

Employability has today become a global matter in higher education, although employers and new graduates agree that apprentice experience is vitally essential in terms of both individual development and work environment effectiveness. On the other hand, the observation proved that a degree course rarely properly prepares students to work. These studies indicate that there is a severe mismatch between the graduate's aspirations and the realism of the labor market; thus, new graduates are insufficiently prepared for the place of work. Thus, it is understandable that most employers are dissatisfied with the attributes and skills of recently declared graduates and anxieties are raised about their requirement of generic skills.

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Higher Education

Private sector managers depict a direct link between higher education and the actual market. Employers usually expect higher education establishments to directly provide their graduates with skills to render them employable. Higher education institutions are frequently criticized because they fail to offer adequate soft skills, communication skills, entrepreneurship, problem-solving, good citizenship, leadership skills, managerial skills, generic skills that graduates need to learn across any walk of life. This undermines the volatile character of the consumer market, the challenge of lifetime employment, and the speed of technological innovation with the integral occupation. The hunt for graduate talents necessitates the growth of very unambiguous skills required by the workplace in the 21st century.

Employees indicate that all those skills are immensely essential. They identify that verbal communication, teamwork, self-motivation, and goal-directedness are the most crucial knacks for graduate employability. Employability is possible when graduates possess a set of skills: time management, communication, problem-solving, resourcefulness, lifelong learning, meta-cognition, self-awareness and the ability to adapt to insecure and skill-dependent workplaces. The recent study has identified the technical and academic skills as the main important kinds of skills required of new graduates in the workplace. These findings, thus, stress the importance of practical learning because students do not constantly know how to relate their knowledge to their work.

Interns and Mentors

According to statistics, industrial skills training is rather significant and positively relates to the interns' intention to quit this program. This is true because the graduate interns highlight the need for more on-job specific trainings. Moreover, mentors also indicate the need for further job specific trainings and maintain that training may occur earlier in the graduates' internship program. This requires a further rigorous conceptualization and planning of the graduates' internship program to guarantee that the expected outcomes are achieved. These factors present some limitations. A purposive sample used in such a research means that findings cannot be generalized to other organizations. This identifies and confirms important soft skills that might be of relevance to other organizations for the graduate employability and eventual retention of interns. Overall, the paper states that graduates and students report strong growth of employability abilities and a rise in confidence openly attributable to their internship's experience.

The majority of potential employers indicate that interns bring new energy and insights to the business and they also treasure the intern's exceeded expectations. It is imperative that universities, employers, and students are informed of the benefits of taking internships, mainly in the perspective of the existing higher education funding channels, which are expected to augment the focus of universities and students on graduates' employability.

Conclusion

The absence of any study in the work environment with regards to the graduate interns' and mentors' perception of the responsibility and relationships of soft skills and industrial skills in the realization of a graduate internship program makes this paper stand out as exploratory and unique in the domains. Talent retention of graduates is an imperative topic of discussion in all the sectors, especially in the current situation of the skills shortage, the relative shortage of specialist employees and the mismatch connecting the supply from most higher education institutions and the high demands of the potential employers. It is within this circumstance that the paper investigated the experiences of both mentors and interns in a graduate intern program, concomitant with the tendency of graduates to stay put in the company following the completion of the program.

The importance of technical skills has been stoutly fore-grounded in this research. At the start of their first jobs, many graduates will be deficient in the soft skills.

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