Most final year poly students are required to spend 1 semester interning at a company that has job scopes relating to the modules they have learned in their course.
If you’re a poly student doing some research to prepare yourselves for your upcoming internship, this article will explain the 3 types of internships and how to do well in any of them.
1.0 What is an internship?
An internship is a practical work experience to expose students to the workforce and what work life is like. It also helps to make the transition to the workforce easier for students after graduating.
2.0 What do Interns usually do?
Your duties as an intern vary on the field you’re in, the type of internship, and what your employers expect of you.
Usually, you’ll be asked to perform support tasks and help your more experienced colleagues. It may sound boring, but it helps to build up your experience as you get to watch and learn how your experienced colleagues execute their tasks.
Remember that internship is more of training than employment, so don’t expect to be involved in large scale projects.
3.0 Types of Internships
There are usually 3 types of internships for students to gain exposure.
Each type offers a different experience for students, let’s see which one is more suited for you.
1) Corporate Internship
Internship roles in the corporate sector are vast, there are many roles from different field of study such as,
– Infocomm & Technology
Corporate companies are usually very results-focused since making profits is their main goal.
You can expect stiff competition when being offered an internship by big corporate companies as they’re usually looking to hire interns who are result-oriented.
A competitive and determined mindset, along with a good resume is what will set you apart from your competitors.
You’ve to show them that you’re someone who wouldn’t give up until you’ve achieved your goals.
Apart from big corporate companies, there are also corporate companies such as start-ups and SMEs that are smaller and new. Since they’re new, they tend to be more flexible and less formal.
The environment is not as competitive and stressful, hence, if you’re someone who wants to take things slow, applying to intern at a start-up is a better choice.
The environment is not as competitive and stressful, however, interns likely need to multitask and help with other job scope roles more as start-ups and SMEs usually don’t have as many employees as established corporate companies.
This also helps to promote more learning!
Start-ups are usually open to new ideas for their growth and development, so you can expect to feel more inclusive as your boss might want to hear some ideas from you!
2) Public Sector Internships
There are 2 types of internships within the public sector: Government agencies (GA) and Non-Government organisations (NGOs).
Government Agencies (GAs)
Working in GAs involves serving the public like enhancing the lives of Singaporeans by safeguarding Singapore’s independence, security, etc.
As an intern there, you’ll just be involved in minor projects as you lack experience. However, jobs in GAs usually pay well, so you can expect a high stipend as an intern there.
As an intern with a passion to lead a change and improve the welfare of your country, you may feel that your ideas wouldn’t get heard.
However, just know that no matter the size and impact of your contributions, it’ll still help to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
If you’re someone who likes to give back to society by helping the less fortunate, NGOs will expose you to what lending a helping hand is like!
Since NGOs are non-profit, interning there would mean that you might not get paid.
It would be more towards voluntary work instead.
But hey! Remuneration shouldn’t matter if you’re able to improve the lives of the less fortunate.
3) Overseas Internship
If given a chance, who wouldn’t want to intern in a foreign country?
Working in a different country is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about different cultures and work ethics.
For example, Germany is very famous for their engineering industry, so if you’re an engineering student, interning at Germany can further your horizons and you might be able to bring a few new ideas back to Singapore!
Also, overseas internships add a significant boost to your resume as compared to local internships since you get to experience what many local students are not able to.
That can make finding a job easier for you in the future!
4.0 Benefits of doing internships
Internship brings many benefits to you as a student who’ll be progressing into the workforce in a few years’ time:
1) Gain Work Experience
Internship provides you with valuable work experience as you’re given the opportunity to learn first-hand what entering the workforce is like.
Hearing what people say and experiencing it yourselves are very different. The knowledge and skills that you’ll gain will give you an edge as compared to students who graduate without any work experience.
2) Exploring Career Paths
Self-discovery can be a very long journey. Many students are unsure whether they chose the right course to study, some even further their studies for the sake of pleasing their parents.
If you’re unsure whether your current course is suited for you, I’d strongly suggest giving an internship in your industry a try.
Internships for poly students usually span across 22 weeks. By spending that amount of time working and gaining exposure, you’ll know whether the field you’re studying in is suited for you or not.
After studying for 2 years’ worth of theory from Year 1 to Year 2, an internship provides a good platform for you to utilise what you’ve learned in the classroom and put it to practical use.
Don’t be afraid of receiving criticism from your more experienced colleagues as they’ll be able to teach a few valuable skills during internship.
Take the chance to embrace the mistakes you’ve committed and learn from it, this way you’ll be able to enter the workforce with more confidence and not commit the same mistakes!
4) Getting Paid
Most companies do pay their interns monthly. As a student, earning a stipend of $500 and above already seems decent as you don’t have to pay the bills at home.
You basically have your entire pay for yourselves.
Gaining valuable work experience and earning money from it? Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone.
Don’t forget to treat yourselves every payday!
5) Transition to Full-Timer
Many companies hire their interns after finishing their internship period as it helps them save time and cost.
As interns are already trained and know what they have to do, companies don’t have to spend money on training and interviews.
You know what they say, time is money.
How to do well for Internship
Although you’re a student who might be new to working, there are still some ways to help improve your overall performance.
Here are some tips,
Do some research about the company you’re going to intern in.
It’s better to prepare yourselves by acquiring some basic knowledge about your company’s goal and work culture. This information can usually be found on the company’s website.
Dress code can vary for different companies. Some expect their interns to be formal and presentable, while others may be laxer and allow their interns to dress casually.
If your company happens to allow you to be in casual attire, I’d strongly suggest you put in some effort to dress up appropriately instead of wearing sweatpants and slippers to work.
How you dress can have an impact on your performance. If you’ve already put in the effort in the morning to dress up, you’ll feel more motivated and put up a better performance during work.
It’s important to have a hard-working attitude. You’re there to learn, not to play.
Be serious when doing the tasks assigned to you, and make sure you submit your work on time. It doesn’t leave a good impression on you if you’re always submitting your work late, or not doing your work properly.
As an intern, you might be tasked to do work you might be uncomfortable with, hence it’s important to have a flexible mindset.
Just think of it as a challenge you’ve to overcome in order to be a better person!
Your colleagues will be there throughout your stint in the company, it’s important that you communicate and socialise with them.
If you’re an introvert, try opening up and befriending your colleagues.
It’ll make your time during internship more pleasant and less lonely as you’ve friends to talk to and eat together during lunch breaks!
As the competition among students looking for job post-graduation gets stiffer, it’s important to get some work experiences before entering the workforce to stand out from your fellow graduates who are competing for jobs.
An internship is one of the most valuable and fruitful programmes you can experience as a student, be sure to make full use of it as it’ll make it significantly easier for you to find a job after graduating.
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