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Tips on managing an intern

Believe it or not, managing an intern can be more difficult than managing a full time, salaried member of staff. This is often because the intern is keen to gain useful experience and it may not be fair to load them with tasks without considering this goal. Here are some tips to help...

Remember, the intern is here to learn

When managing an intern, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that they are with your company or organisation to learn. Because it is considered a learning experience, interns rarely receive the same salary that ordinary members of staff receive. It s therefore only fair that they are given the opportunity to learn.

Strike the right balance

Of course, the purpose of taking on interns is not to load yourself with a burden of training someone. The intern should be willing to help out with whatever needs done. Many intern programmes combine work shadowing with relatively low skilled work tasks, such as admin.

Remember that this is probably a temporary post

This means that you shouldn't exhaust your resources training the intern - they will probably take any skills and experience they gain elsewhere. Likewise, be cautious about disclosing sensitive or confidential company material.

Show some flexibility

It's a good idea to meet with interns before they take up their placement to discuss exactly what they would like to gain from the internship. This will allow you to manage their expectations and tailor an internship programme that will be mutually beneficial.

What are your needs?

When recruiting and managing an intern, don't lose sight of your own needs. Are there any labour gaps in the company? Lots of students have skills but lack experience - and they could make a great addition to a project or a specific department or team in the company.

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