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How do you choose the right internship provider for you when there are so many companies offering similar programs in Australia?
In today’s episode, we catch up with Jacob Nguyen, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Gradability to answer exactly that question!
Jacob shares his insights on how we identify the right host employers for you to ensure you get the optimum internship experience, as well as some key actions you can take to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to convert your internship to employment.
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Tune in again next week, for a new episode of The Employability Podcast, brought to you by Gradability.
Here is the full transcript of this episode:
00:00 David: You’re listening to the Employability podcast where graduation meets employment. During this series, we uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly in terms of being more employable and ultimately getting hired. Hard truths, no bullshit, no filters, just the information you really need to kick-start your career. Presented by Gradability.
In today’s episode, we catch up with Jacob Nguyen, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Gradability. Jacob shares his insights on how we identify the right host employers for you to ensure you get the optimum internship experience, as well as some key actions you can take to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to convert your internship to employment.
Jacob, tell us about the role of corporate partnerships executive. What does it entail? And tell us also about how your team helps people start their careers in Australia.
01:05 Jacob: Yeah, well, the CPM role is actually quite a unique one. So, I think if you visualize a 360 recruitment model where you have a recruiter working directly with both the host client and the candidate, the Corporate Partnerships Executive role is essentially a 180 role of that.
So, what that means is their sole focus is actually on the client or host employer in this context, where their sole responsibility is actually about building the relationships with client, getting to know their business, their challenges, and potentially knowing how an intern can kind of fit into that puzzle. Yes, essentially, so what the team does part of the corporate partnerships actually, it’s about finding internships for our students.
01:44 David: And that’s, as you were saying, that’s half of the whole sort of internships world as such. And so you talked about the placements consultants as well. What’s their part in this jigsaw?
01:53 Jacob: Yeah, so their part is actually to work directly with the students. So, that comes to interview preparation, resume preparation, and it’s for them to actually work quite closely with the corporate partnerships team to actually match the students to the role as well.
So, essentially think about a recruitment model. The placement consultants team takes probably a 180, which is more the candidate management side, whereas the corporate partnership is more so the client and host employer side of things.
02:21 David: Okay, and tell me about this. If I’m an intern and I’m looking to find an opportunity for myself, I’m looking to start a career, how will I know, how will you know what sort of role to find for me to help me with my career?
You’ve obviously got lots of companies you work for, but for our listeners out there who are looking potentially for an internship, how would they know that you’re going to look after them and have their best interests at heart?
02:42 Jacob: Yeah, it’s a very good question, actually. I think first and foremost, it kind of comes down to building the relationship with the student and getting to understand where is it they want to take their career in the next maybe three to five years.
For example, whether they want to be in IT, whether they want to be in accounting, whatever it might be, and just kind of breaking that down for them as well assessing where they’re at now and trying to build the pieces in between, which is the internship, which is about obviously getting from point A to point B for them.
03:07 David: Like how do you make sure that you’re actually doing it with that student’s interest at heart? Again, you’ve got let’s say, 50 students or 50 interns that you’re trying to help at any one time. How will I know that I get the attention that I need from you or from your team?
03:20 Jacob: Yeah, so we actually have quite a structured process in place actually. So for example, from the placement consultant team, it starts off with a consultation. So that pretty much begins with obviously a conversation about the student’s resume, conversation about where the aspirations are and then it comes down to feeding that through to the corporate partnership team, which is understanding what is the pipeline of work, what are the opportunities available for the intern at the moment.
And then obviously both PCs and CPs in this case will get together and obviously have a conversation as to where the student would fit best. At the end of day, we’re not in a job that is about pushing people into roles. We’re a role where it’s about matching people to the best fit role possible because at the end of day the that’s where potential gradual outcomes arise from.
04:06 David: So it’s really quite individualized, even if you’re doing a lot of it, it’s a very individualized approach.
04:10 Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. And the last thing we want to do is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. So at the end of the day, each and every single host company, we believe, has their obviously individualized and customized needs as well. So, therefore not every single student would fit every single company. But in saying that, we want, at the end of the day, to match the best intern to the best company at any given time.
04:30 David: Internships, have over time, internships have had potentially a bad name, and there’s a bit of confusion over what it is and how it can be used, with your experience, can you shed some light on what an internship actually is and you’ve kind of touched on it before, but also why it’s an important potential step for graduates in terms of starting their careers?
04:48 Jacob: Yeah, and you’re absolutely right. I think internships arguably is probably one of the most trickiest things in employment law and there’s a number of things behind that. It’s just because of the nature of it as well. What constitutes as unpaid/paid within the industrial relations is very tricky. But look, in saying that what an internship is, to kind of break it down for the average Joe is basically a test run for a job.
It’s an opportunity for our graduates to actually test run their career of choice and to kind of break it down as to why I think it’s quite an important step for graduates. I think the first and foremost thing is that it’s an opportunity for graduates to understand whether or not they want to pursue this career path. It’s where their expectations meets the reality of it.
05:31 For example, myself, actually, when I graduated university, I wanted a career in marketing. So undertaking an internship for me was actually a real eye-opener, knowing that maybe marketing isn’t for me. And yes, I think an extension to that. It’s an opportunity to actually contextualize things that you’ve learned in university as well.
And by contextualizing the information is a great way to learn, but it’s also a great way to identify what kind of areas they need to work on as well. Whether that’s technical skills, whether that’s interpersonal skills. And last but not least, but we can’t stress this enough it’s the network that people build in internships. The people you meet along the way might really define your career. So these people might be your future clients, your future colleagues, your future employer, your referees, et cetera. The whole list goes on.
06:14 Even now, throughout my path, starting off within an internship program as well is some of the people I’m working with now as my clients were actually my mentors back in days when I was interning.
06:24 David: It’s a good story. It’s a good lesson, I think, for people that are starting out to know that it’s not just about the experience per se, but it’s also about the networks. And we can touch on that a bit later. What I want to ask you, you talked about the fact that it’s a test run for the career of your choice.
And I think it’s important for anyone listening in because there is this perception of, “Oh no, I don’t want to work for free.” But I think the point you raise is really valid. You will go to university, you will learn various things from uni.
You will understand the theoretical knowledge, and in some cases, you will have what you perceive to be a sense of how that industry works. Until you actually get in there, you don’t actually know whether that’s something that you want to do.
06:59 Jacob: That’s absolutely right.
07:02 David: So I think it’s important that the education you get, the learning you get from your course is really important. But at the same time and knowing about marketing and working in marketing are two completely different things.
07:11 Jacob: 100%, yeah.
07:16 David: And the advantage of an internship is that you’re trying it out in a very risk-free manner. There’s not a lot of pressure on you in theory. You’ve got a supportive mentor who can actually guide you through the process, who’s looking out for you and looking after you and making sure you’ve got that ability to grow in your role, learn, et cetera, as compared to going into a job where your first job in a paid role is there’s demands and it’s really quite high-pressure, that creates a very different situation.
07:36 Jacob: Yeah, absolutely right. And again, I think, as you mentioned, look, it is a very, very safe environment to try out what you want and what you don’t want as well, because the last thing you want is jump into paid employment and realize, “Oh man, this probably isn’t the career path I wanted to pursue.” So, having an internship there is a real eye-opener as well.
07:55 David: You talked about networks and how you’ve worked your networks to, you know, even today, where you’re still utilizing people or not utilizing, that sounds really bad. But leaning on people that you’ve come across throughout your career from the time you were an intern. Have you got any advice for anyone listening in terms of how to actually build those networks?
Because, you know, not everybody mixes with people quite easily. If I was a bit less sure of myself, if I wasn’t that confident, what advice would you give to somebody looking to build their networks?
08:21 Jacob: I think first and foremost, just be yourself. Look, at the end of the day and every time we work with a host employer, we always say when you’re recruiting for an intern, you’re not recruiting for the technical skill sets, you’re recruiting for the potential in the medium to long run. And therefore you shouldn’t set the expectation that as an intern you should know every single thing under the roof because the reality is you don’t.
Which is why it’s so important for you to just be yourself, embrace your skill sets and embrace your advantages, which is you’re coming into a business with a fresh pair of eyes, new ideas and unique perspective which is why a lot of employers value young graduate talent nowadays. It’s the fresh ideas and the fresh pair of eyes coming into the business.
So yeah, look, in saying that, just be yourself and I think I would really emphasize on is be very, very proactive. Have a clear set of intentions as to why you’re interning, what is it you want to do? Is it because, one, you want to build your list of networks? Or is it, two, you want to build as much experience and skills as possible?
Having a clear set of intentions really goes a long way because having that as your priority uno, everything else kind of falls into place as well.
09:27 David: It’s probably both of those things, right?
09:27 Jacob: I think it’s a number of those things, yeah, absolutely.
09:31 David: You touched about host employers, can we talk about them just for a minute? Like, when you’re sourcing a host employer, what are the things that you’re looking for in a good host employer?
09:40 Jacob: Yeah, that’s a very good question, Dave. I could probably give you a whole shopping list, but a number of things that we usually look for, I think the first thing is always purpose and value. Understanding what is the purpose of having an intern for a business? What would success look like for a successful internship program?
Chances are, if it isn’t clear to us, chances are it probably isn’t clear to the intern. The second thing we would probably look for is a sense of structure. And this generally surrounds itself around the mentorship. Just given that interns, as I touched upon earlier, is these guys are very young within their careers generally and in saying that, they’ll need some sort of guidance.
10:21 So, by having a good support system, for example, and a mentor in place, it really goes a long way as well. And then everything else kind of feeds from that. So, we’ll look at things such as the responsibilities, the duties of the intern, making sure the role makes sense, the company size, the company aspirations, long term growth, etc.
10:34 David: In terms of structure and mentorship or having that sort of structure. I think in some cases, as we know, there are businesses that have that real desire to help people. They really want to take on an intern, support them, but they may not necessarily have all the structures in place.
And that’s something where at Gradability, ourselves, we come in and we can provide those templates of support that they need to be able to get those first ones up and going so that they’re on their own. They actually know they’ve got a process that they can follow as well.
10:59 Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. And look, on the flip side of that, we’ve actually seen internship programs that hasn’t been run so well either. And the couple of tenants that we see from that is quite consistent is a lack of structure. It’s a lack of understanding of purpose and value behind the internship as well.
So, for example, the types of host companies that we generally would avoid are the ones that can’t get their heads beyond the idea that an internship is just about having extra man or woman power on deck.
Yes, so for companies like that, generally are the ones we generally avoid actually just because then again, they don’t see the purpose behind what an internship program truly is.
11:39 David: Because ultimately, an internship, you’re considering taking a student or an intern on, it’s not about and I know that some people sometimes talk about this or it’s free labor. It’s not, it’s very much about providing an opportunity for somebody who’s new to the industry to learn that, yes, there will be some tasks that you can give them to do, because obviously, that’s part of the learning process.
But it’s really not about, “Oh, here’s somebody that can work for me for free for three months.” There are obligations that host employers obviously have to provide as well or they have to meet as well and make sure that they’re providing a learning environment, that they’re giving opportunities for that person as well. Have you ever had to turn down a host or a potential host and say, “Sorry, we’re not going to work with you”?
12:17 Jacob: Yeah, actually a number of times. And it comes down to what pretty much you were saying, which is there’s that mindset which we feel wouldn’t work well for an internship program, which is it’s just a free form of labor. Then again, that internship kind of just becomes a very kind of like an IT or an accounting internship sweatshop where they’re just pumping in students, pumping out students, et cetera. And just really isn’t a fruitful experience for the interns either way because it’s just a free form of labor as well.
12:42 David: Which is illegal.
12:42 Jacob: Which is, yes, definitely illegal. By the same token, and what we’ve seen actually in the recruitment market especially, is, you know, people have been actually shifting a lot of their focus away from internship programs being just a free form of labor, but they’ve actually been embedding into the HR recruitment strategy, especially nowadays, just given how hard and tired it is within the recruitment market.
Internship is a great form of pipelining that graduate model and people have actually been embedding that into their HR processes. So, as part of their core HR strategy, which is an internship program isn’t just an extra added work part of any company’s CSR, it’s actually a key part of HR strategy nowadays. And we’ve seen a lot of businesses approach us with that kind of understanding, which has been very fruitful for us.
And we’ve seen ourselves actually our interns are being recruited and actually offered graduate jobs as well. Not just obviously interning for three months, have a company named in the resume and then going off somewhere else. They’re actually recruiting our interns as well, which actually has been quite rewarding for us as a team.
13:39 David: And I suppose from an intern, from a student’s perspective, coming into an internship, there is sometimes that fear, “Am I going to get a job?” And I know a lot of people come in going, will I get a job from this internship? And there’s no guarantee.
13:53 Jacob: That’s right.
13:53 David: Obviously, it’s not guaranteed. You’ve got to be able to meet the expectations of the company as well. But that is quite promising, I think. From your perspective, what does an intern need to do to make sure that they’re maximizing those opportunities to get ongoing employment?
14:08 Jacob: That’s a very good question, Dave, and I think it comes down to a couple of things. But one of the things I mentioned earlier is just actually clear intentions, knowing the exact purpose and their intention as to why they’re doing this internship.
Is it because they want to prove themselves in order to secure a graduate opportunity? Or is it because they just want to learn as much as possible or even better, building their network or a multitude of these things?
The other thing I would say is just proactivity. Look, what sets apart good from great interns is actually the ones who are very, very proactive. And what I mean by this is the ones who are always willing to ask questions, not just taking the surface level answers and actually just kind of delving deep into it as well.
14:48 You know, the ones who would actually go out of their way to network with people, the interns who would go out the way to do some more research about a particular task, not just delivering a task at a very surface level, again, just kind of going above and beyond what is expected of them as well.
15:03 David: Asking questions is something that we’ve heard a lot about from various people that we’ve had on the Pod, employers, et cetera, who’ve basically echoed exactly what you’ve said. It’s really important to ask questions.
If you’re not sure, you need to get that clarification. It’s probably the one take away from this series is that if you’re going to an internship or if you’re starting out your career, it’s really important that you’re asking questions, not stupid questions.
And they say that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. There are. If you’re not sure what’s going on, you’re not completely across the task, the objective, it’s really important to get that clarification early because, again, it’s a business. You don’t want to be wasting time and finding yourself in a situation where actually I forgot to ask that question three weeks later.
I haven’t done what I’m supposed to be doing or I’ve done a completely the wrong project, wasted everybody’s time. And it’s not like a university assignment where it’s just for credit. This is actually for business purposes.
15:53 Jacob: That’s right.
15:53 David: Regardless of whether you’re working in a not-for-profit, government or a commercial entity, time is money. And it’s really important, I think, from an intern’s perspective or again, from a person starting out their career, getting that clarification early and it goes all the way through to being a CEO and MD, whatever it is, it’s still really important to ask questions.
Let’s talk a bit about host employers themselves because we talked about the fact that from an intern’s perspective, they’ve got to make sure that they’re doing certain things. There are obviously obligations for a host employer that they have to fulfill as well.
16:22 Can you tell me, like, if I’m a student or an intern and I go, “Look, I’m doing an internship, I’m not quite sure of my employers looking after me the way they should…” Could you tell us from your perspective or from your experience what are the obligations that a host employer has to meet in order to satisfy the internship requirements? Not just from a pretty wide program perspective, but just broadly in terms of ensuring that the intern gets a good experience?
16:44 Jacob: That’s absolutely right. Look, one of the, I guess, key obligations of any employer is just having a suitable structure in place. Structure can come in forms of many things, but the most crucial thing is having a support structure in forms of a mentor. So, for example, having someone with the adequate amount of experience, having someone with adequate amount of knowledge to be able to actually guide the intern throughout their internship as well.
And in saying that, the mentor must be able to allocate a dedicated amount of time to actually catch up the intern, to understand what is it they’re doing, any challenges they might be having, and anywhere else they can improve the internship.
Because, at the end of the day, an internship is a two-way street. It’s not only beneficial for an intern, but it is also very beneficial for a host company. So, it is very important for a mentor to actually allocate some time to actually catch up with the intern as well.
17:37 David: What does allocating some time mean? Is that like an hour a day, an hour a week? What is that? Is there a guide for that?
17:44 Jacob: To be honest, there’s no kind of really kind of like set-in-stone type of guide. But look, in saying that, what we’d always recommend is probably a daily catch up. For example, one at the start of day to kind of set out the expectations, tasks for the day and catch up later in the evening or just before they finish up, just to kind of understand where they’ve got enough to understand if they had any challenges as well.
And again, it is a good feedback loop as well. Going on a bit of a tangent with this, but I get many host employees saying they utilize interns as a way to test their processes. So for example, if their training processes isn’t really as effective for an intern, chances are it probably wouldn’t be effective for a professional coming in.
So then again, having some form of structured catch up preferably on a daily basis would help with an internship program as well.
18:30 David: Yeah, so it’s quite active management. We’re not talking about a set and forget type scenario.
18:34 Jacob: That’s right.
18:34 David: And I think the flip side message there for interns is while that is I suppose best practice, we’re looking for catch up in the morning, but of a quick huddle, how are you doing, what are your key priorities? And then a catch up at the end of the day that’s going, how did you go? What are your challenges for the next day? Those sorts of things.
While those we consider to be sort of best practice, in some cases, your mentor is not going to be able to do that every day because let’s face it, they’ve got responsibilities and deliverables as well.
But it is also incumbent upon you as an intern to make sure that if you’re not getting what you think is the right support, that you’re going out, and as we’ve said before, asking questions, getting in front of your mentor to make sure that they understand how much support you actually need rather than just sitting there, waiting twelve weeks and then going, “Oh, I didn’t get enough support.”
Because there’s nothing once that twelve weeks has passed and it will go very quickly, there’s nothing that you can do after that time has passed or I didn’t realize that you weren’t getting the information you needed. That’s really important.
19:28 It’s a really important point for anyone listening in who is doing an internship or considering an internship is to make sure that you are getting that support that you need. And if you’re not, you need to be raising it at the time, not wait until after and going, “Oh well, that wasn’t a great experience.”
That’s also if you’re using a third party provider like ourselves or through university, whatever it is, if you’re not giving real-time feedback, then no one is in a position to be able to help you. So, it’s really important that you are considering proactive communication in that.
19:54 One thing that we keep experiencing is with interns or with students or graduates coming out, they’re all saying, look, if I’m in IT, I want to go work for Google or Atlassian, one of the big tech firms, preferably a unicorn or I want to work for one of the big banks. And I think one of the things they always ask is, could you get me an internship there?
20:13 Jacob: Yeah, we encounter that probably dare I say per weekly basis with students having very high expectations and look, at the end of the day, they deserve to, because working for a big brand like that, a big company like that is a dream for some of these students as well.
So I guess we are partnered with various well-known brands, some of the ones that you’ve even mentioned. But by the same token, and we always ask this, you got to consider is it the brand name or is it the skill set that’s going to get you far in your career? Therefore, the focus of us here at Gradability is actually finding you the right internship at the right time in your career.
20:49 This doesn’t mean that we can’t get you into a big brand name, but what it does mean is we want you to build the right experience from the get-go. I’ve met so many ex-Gradability students as well who are now CEOs, business owners, even mentors as well for us. And not all of them have actually started in a large fancy corporate brand at all.
Some of them might have started it in a small to medium tier type of firm, but at the end of the day it’s about those firms that help them get equipped with the right skills to take them to where they’re at in their careers nowadays. So, at the end of the day, just having a big brand name, a big fancy company in your resume is amazing, I’m saying that the focus for us at Gradability is ensuring that we’re helping you build the right skill sets at the right time.
21:29 David: Yeah, and I think as you pointed out, you can get an internship at a massive company. In a lot of cases, you’re going to get a really good internship as well because we talk about structure, we talk about appropriate mentors, et cetera. You’re going to get a lot of that.
But you’re also discounting a very significant part of industry if you only want a large MMC to be working at, because the really good opportunities also come from relatively smaller companies because in many cases you’re working directly with the business owners, you’re working directly with the C-suite, who you’re actually having regular input with.
And I think you’re starting out in your career if you get an opportunity to work with an MD or CEO, with CFO, CIO, CTO, any of those sort of C-suite roles on a regular basis, that’s gold, because a lot of businesses, you don’t have that interaction. And that’s going to give you exposure to a much broader set of what your business objectives are, what the business is looking for, how people in those roles are thinking.
22:18 And I think the advancement that you’re going to get from that is exponential compared to just working as a cog, albeit it might be a vital cog, but working as a cog in a very large machine.
So I think one of the things that I would say to anyone listening is don’t discount the fact that just because the firm isn’t necessarily turning over $2 billion a year doesn’t mean that they’re not going to provide you a good experience. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to potentially sometimes even get a better experience than you would in a much larger firm.
22:43 Jacob: Yeah, look, in extension to that, I actually started my career in recruitment and I’ve worked with a lot of these large corporate brands. And generally when they’re looking for graduates or even kind of like mid, kind of professionals within the younger spectrum of their careers, they would ask for startup experience and it kind of plays to what you said, Dave.
It’s again, the exposure to the multiple facets of business, whether that’s working with high-level executives or whether that’s working on much more kind of the front end, front lines of the business as well. It’s the invaluable experience that you get working across multiple facets within a startup business that can really enhance your career and build those right skills that can really take you to define your career as well.
23:21 David: I think that’s really relevant. One of the early episodes we’ve got, I talked about the fact that as a person starting out in your career, you should actually be working out the sort of business that you want to work for. Is it a smaller firm or is it a larger firm?
Because the traits that you need to be successful in a startup in many ways are very different to what you need to be successful in a larger firm. Not necessarily in terms of work ethic, but certainly in terms of approach, how flexible you are, how adaptable. And how malleable you are in the situation compared to one where it’s a lot more structured, a lot more rigid. So, definitely you want to be looking at what sort of business, what sort of character traits do I have as an individual and therefore, what sort of business do I want to work for long term?
Is it necessarily the big four firms? Is it necessarily one of the big tech companies? Or is it something where it might be a little bit smaller? Maybe it’s a not-for-profit that appeals to you. I think it’s really important to understand what actually drives you when you’re looking at internship.
24:14 And a lot of times I know that’s a lot of work that your team does when you talk to students or interns that we have to go, “Hang on, you keep saying you want this, but what you’re not saying and what sits in the space between the words is actually you’re looking for experience that you may not necessarily even know at the time.” And that’s why we sometimes steer people down a certain path.
24:32 Jacob: That’s right. Look, a lot of times the students will tell us what they want, but not how they’ll get there and we’re that kind of piece, which is, look, we understand what you want, but at the end of the day, let us help you get there. And those small building blocks might be those smaller to medium tier kind of IT or accounting firms.
24:52 David: But even that whole, they know what they want to do concept, it’s a bit like you say you wanted to work in marketing. Sometimes you don’t know what you want or you think you want something until you actually get there, you don’t actually know. And from a third party perspective, we might be sitting here going, everything you’re saying tells me that this isn’t the right path for you.
And it’s not about trying to sort of deflect and move people down to different paths. It’s actually about saying, “This is what we do – this is our passion. We strive to find the right internship for you every time. And it’s for you specifically.” So it’s for us, it’s about how do we actually help your career get started, how do we make sure that we give you the best opportunity for you.
25:30 Jacob: That’s right.
25:31 David: So let’s just talk about that. I suppose if I’m looking for an internship, how will I know that I’ve got the right placement potentially?
25:37 Jacob: This is a good rule of thumb that I always use with each and every single student that would ask me, is this the right internship for me? I think the good rule of thumb is when you can visualize yourself walking away and saying to yourself that you were able to learn something.
You were better professionally and personally after you left the internship compared to before you stepped into the internship. And the reason why we say this is because each and every single company will have its own set of challenges. No company is perfect. We’ll never tell you that the company you’re being sent to is perfect.
26:09 But in saying that with each and every single of those challenges you will undoubtedly pick up something, whether that’s understanding particular processes or structures might better thought out, or whatever it might be.
The good rule of thumb is if you can feel that once you walk away from that internship that you’ve learnt at least one thing then I think that’s a good rule of thumb for you.
26:29 David: And sometimes it might be that you’ve learnt that’s not the type of company for you.
26:32 Jacob: That’s absolutely right. Yeah. Or might be even a particular leadership style that you might not be a fan of. There are so many facets, it might not just even have to be the job itself. Again, there are so many things.
26:44 David: And it’s only twelve weeks or three months sort of period, so it’s not a very long time and I think because it’s such a short period of time, even if you’re finding it really challenging personally, what you’re saying is spot on. You’ve got to find one or two things and go look, if I can get out of this situation or if I can exit the situation at the end of twelve weeks and I’ve learnt A, B and C and I’ve actually got an outcome from it.
And I can take that A, B, and C, whatever it is, you know, like, I learned how to work in a high-pressure situation. I learned how to work with a micromanaging manager, I learned how to work in an environment that wasn’t potentially as open as I would have liked it to be.
Then I can take that to my next role and go, “A, I know what I’m looking for and all these are the things that work for me, these things don’t work for me, B, I also know that I can overcome a challenge because I have done that.” I think that resilience is really important as well.
27:31 Jacob: And it’s the transferable skills that you pick up. Yes, learning the technical skills and the very hard skills is quite crucial to any role, really. But the transferable skills is what a lot of employees look for, especially for young graduates. Because at the end of the day, look, I mentioned this a bit earlier, employers aren’t exactly looking to recruit the absolute technical skills of a young graduate.
Because, let’s face it, there’s not that many. So, look, I’m saying it’s all about transferable skills and it’s about the soft skills as well. So those skills that you pick up in those twelve weeks definitely are invaluable to your next employer as well.
28:03 David: So if I’m a graduate or I’m a current student, I’m looking to an internship to help me with my career. What’s the benefit of working with a company to help me, like Gradability or working with a company or an organisation like Gradability to help me with an internship? Why don’t I just go and do it myself?
28:23 Jacob: Yeah, that’s a very good question, Dave. The thing with Gradability is we do more than internships, though. So, look, sometimes you’ll get many students saying, you’re exactly right, I already have an internship. Why do I need to go for an internship company?
I think the first point is, look, we’re more than an internship company. At Gradability, what we focus on is employability outcomes for graduates and what this means, it’s about the in-house training you get from professionals. People who have actually been on the field and understand what it’s like working within a professional environment.
28:57 The network you build within the classrooms, you never know. These might be your future employers, your future business partners. You never know. But also the guidance of professionals who have worked day in, day out within this field.
What I mean by this is, as we kind of touched on upon, Dave, is actually an internship is actually by far one of the trickiest areas in employment law. And what you think might be a legal internship for yourself or for your business might actually not be.
So, having us to actually back you up is quite crucial in this space, along with, obviously, the insurances and the support you receive as part of it as well. For example, there are many times where we’ll get students coming to us with so many issues about an internship and they just wouldn’t know how to approach it.
29:39 But by having someone in place, for example, whether that’s a corporate partnership executive or whether that’s a placement consultant, they can really help provide invaluable advice as to how to resolve particular issues.
And what I’ve seen actually, sometimes the difference between an internship being terminated and an internship being saved is actually based on a simple conversation between us as a third party provider and the employer.
So, without a third party provider like us, I think it’s definitely still possible to do your own internship. But look, the value for someone looking to engage a third party like us is one, we know what we’re doing, and two, the level of support that we can provide as well.
30:16 David: And as you’re saying before, like, there are some challenges around insurances and protecting yourself from exploitation. And I think the values you’re saying of a business, whether it’s Gradability or someone else, but I think as a third party, one of the major benefits of that is that you’ve also got somebody in your corner who can help you in the event of a dispute, in the event of an issue that may arise.
Hopefully it doesn’t, most of the time there won’t be any. But it’s a bit like car insurance. You don’t need it until you need it.
30:39 Jacob: That’s right.
30:39 David: Look, just to wrap up, Jacob, top three tips that you’ve got for anyone who’s looking to do an internship. What would you advise them from your perspective?
30:47 Jacob: I think, look, first and foremost, probably clear intentions, knowing the purpose why you’re doing an internship. Second thing is proactivity. Again, ask questions. Ask a lot of smart questions, network with people, do your research, go above and beyond. And last but not least is effort.
Whatever you do within the internship, whether that’s stacking the coffee shelf or whatever it might be, go above and beyond because those small nuances really get noticed.
31:15 David: Awesome. I think that’s really useful advice. Jacob, thanks very much for your time today. Thank you, everyone, for listening in. We’ll see you next time.
You have been listening to the Employability podcast presented by Gradability.
If you would like more information about today’s topics, please check out the show notes or visit www.gradibility.com.au. A reminder to subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode. I’m Dave Phua. Until next time, remember to control the controllables.