“There’s only so much you can do when your revenue
goes down 99 per cent,” Lloyd states. Different providers
will be placed to pivot, depending on what they have been
prioritising over the past few years.
A survey by entry-level consultancy Ivy Research Council
in April found that 18 per cent of US financial service
companies believed a “fully virtual” internship was the most
likely outcome for their 2020 summer recruits. 36 per cent
of the 22 companies surveyed expected interns to start
with a virtual program, then shift to a conventional program
when the coronavirus threat has passed. It’s a model several
providers have been looking at.
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For Merson at Global Experiences, the evidence of
workability will prove important. “The biggest obstacle to
change has always been evidence of its feasibility and the
preference that people might have for it,” Merson indicates.
“We’ve seen in a very short forced period of time, proof that
education should and can be done successfully online.”
Not all providers had capacity for virtual as Covid-19
hit. And they’ve had to create viable options in a new work
setting in very short time periods. The Intern Group pivoted
very quickly, Lloyd explains. He expects as many as half of
the students who had booked in-person internships to opt
for the digital option.
Up until now, remote internships have been possible but not popular
according to Dallas Boyd at Intern Abroad HQ
However, Jacobs at EUSA explains that the shift to remote
working was a dynamic changing even prior to Covid-19.
Historically, universities don’t allow students to be placed
in companies working remotely. “They require a mini-mum
number of employees to be on-site in order for their
student’s placement to be approved,” she says.
Nevertheless, “remote internships have always been pos-sible,
they’ve just never been popular. People want to travel,”
reveals Boyd at Intern Abroad HQ. And now, universities
have become almost uncharacteristically flexible as Co-vid-
19 halts all in-person programs.
“Everyone’s just trying to be as flexible and adaptable as
possible,” Boyd tells The PIE Review. “We’re being open min-ded
so that we can make sure students’ academic progress is
just never been
Others, like Professionals UK, teamed up with ELT
provider British Study Centres to launch a virtual internship
program for students to learn English while completing pla-cements.
Global Experiences launched its Virtuoso program
as a response to the outbreak.
“A key message that we want to teach students is being
an effective remote worker won’t just be a ‘nice to have’ in
the future. It’s going to be a ‘necessary to have’,” The Intern
Group’s Lloyd suggests.
Work in a remote setting – as we are all discovering – is a
different experience, Merson says. “While we’re all showing
that we can be productive in our jobs remotely, internships
will also be seen as the same,” she states. Work will be “less
about the hours and more about the outcomes”.
Future employers will acknowledge those interns who
were able to prove their mettle and gain valuable experience
nonetheless during Covid-19 shutdown. “It’s really key and
essential to get the companies up to scratch as well on what
a virtual internship is,” Nivern at CRCC reminds. Project-ba-sed
programming is really important here, he says. Learning
how to deliver projects – with reduced supervisor contact
time – is going to be vital in the new workplace.
PHOTO: INTERN ABROAD HQ
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