Have you ever applied for a job you have full qualifications for but then your application was turned down because you do not have the required work experience needed before the job can be given to you?
Well, this is the case of most Nigerian youths today. Most jobs today only have slots for fresh graduates with two to three years working experience and one cannot help but ask how that is even possible seeing that the vacancy is open to only ‘fresh graduates’. This is where volunteering or interning as the case may be comes in.
Volunteering or interning is a hired introductory position for a defined period which could be paid or unpaid and its main purpose is for the intern or volunteers to gain experience.
Take for instance a person studying Mass Communication in a public university. Such a person will definitely have session breaks or semester breaks, a few weeks or months of industrial attachment and of course strike actions that have sadly become the spice in the academic plan of every public institution in the country. Amazingly, all these can afford you with enough time to gain the work experience you will need to get you your dream job.
In the negative however, most young people shy away from volunteering especially because there is no money involved most times. Some organizations may be kind enough to give stipends to their volunteers as a form of encouragement but this is not the case everywhere.
A young person begins to calculate the amount of money to be spent on transportation to work and probably feeding at work and this may just make them brush the issue of volunteering aside. However, the benefits of interning greatly outweigh all that could possibly pose as a disadvantage.
First of all, it provides you with good working experience. Job listings often describe requirements such as your education and minimum job experience. An internship is a perfect way to fill that gap. You can gain valuable experience or exposure as to how the activities in your chosen field runs, take part in meetings and perform assigned tasks in a real-world setting.
Secondly, it enables you have access to a variety of tasks and departments. You may help senior management, sit in on meetings, complete small tasks for projects or observe the daily functions of the office. This way, you can decide which department you will like to work in the future as you have had access to a variety of tasks and the various departments in the organization.
Another key importance in volunteering or interning is the fact that it provides you with an opportunity to have mentorship. Working as an intern may allow you to meet a potential mentor and establish a relationship that helps guide your career path.
Other benefits could include helping guide your career goals, creating a professional network and most importantly helps you build a strong Resume and secure good references and recommendations.
In as much as there are downsides to interning which includes using interns as errand boys and girls and also not providing them enough space to explore their potentials, one must find suitable organizations that are receptive and gain on-the-job experience to complement knowledge gained in the classroom.
Organizations and companies should also try to be more accommodating to interns by providing a good learning and working environment for them. They should treat interns better and grant them the allowance to maximize their abilities and capabilities.