Shaking up Summer Internship Programs

BY Rohan Holland |

Traditional Summer Internship (Vacation) Programs have their share of benefits and challenges. Is it time we shook up the traditional model to offer both the students and the organisation something more fresh and innovative? As many employers know, the measure of success for any well-meaning internship program is often a reflection of how engaged and invested each intern’s direct manager is. This can also dictate each intern’s experience concerning the value they can create for the business and the skills and knowledge they can gain for themselves.

As a result, there is a lot at stake. Specifically, the employer brand and reputation experienced by interns (whether good or bad) and shared with their families, friends, university classmates, and each other are very powerful.

The challenges are obvious. How do we effectively manage this experience when the timing of the more common Summer Internship program is over the Christmas and New Year break when, at the same time, potential line managers attend Christmas parties, wrap up projects, and have a well-earned holiday? And what about providing budding young professionals with the appropriate skills and experiences (outside of the day to day job placement) that set them up for success? 

We recently conducted a live webinar that showcased NAB’s re-imagined Summer Internship Program. An adventurous organisation prepared to try something new and fresh with a critical objective to create an excellent experience for early career talent while ensuring it also works for the NAB business and its people. 

So, instead of walking the well-trodden path of a 10-12 week job placement (only), NAB agreed to create a program that is a truly blended experience. The program consisted of job placement, professional development, career readiness training, a team project, individual career success coaching, ‘spotlight sessions’ with NAB leaders and social connection events. A shorter job placement period of 7 weeks maximised the internship experience and journey while creating less of a resource impact on its line leaders. 

The outcome?

  • Since 2018, year on year of fine-tuned and adapted blended experience program delivered to interns
  • Results from the recent program provided an NPS of 72 and an intern to permanent graduate offer conversion of 88%
  • Undoubtedly some great word of mouth employer branding to boot. 

If you’d like to explore fresh ways to connect, engage and retain early career talent or simply to solve your current pain points in graduate recruitment, please take a look at our Ignite programs to learn more and talk to us to start the conversation.

We can create and deliver turn-key employer-branded development programs across the early talent spectrum.

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