Q. How can I help students prepare for the technology challenges that are prevalent in most offices?

May 27, 2010 at 9:58 am | Posted in Intern Support, Preparing interns | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Most internship descriptions list the technology skills that are needed. Review those lists with each intern to ensure that your student is proficient in the required technology. If the internship doesn’t indicate any technology skills, ask your student to find out what, if any, skills will be expected. If your student feels unprepared for the technology challenges, the following suggestions may be helpful: 

  • Utilize a resource, such as a computer lab, technology class, or even your Career Center, at the university or college to help your student develop new technology skills before the internship starts. A technology tutor may be useful, too.
  • Arrange pre-internship training at the internship site on how to use the appropriate technology. The intern supervisor at the company will respect an intern willing to dedicate additional time to be up-to-date by the start of the internship. As a result, the intern will feel much more confident by Day One. If necessary, your student may have to put in extra time even after the internship starts in order to master the technology.
  • Recommend books or manuals, either online or in stores, about the various forms of technology as resources to help your students understand the technical aspects of the equipment they’ll use at their internships.
  • Invite Computer Science majors at your school to act as mentors for your students while they’re on their internships. Establish a hotline or email address for your interns, giving them immediate access to a mentor who can direct them in using technology.
  • Ask the intern supervisor to provide a company “techie” who is willing to answer any questions or help your intern figure out the technology. Such an arrangement will improve efficiency at work and be a good support system for your student. Emphasize to your student that the quality of work is what really counts; technology is simply a tool.
  • Facilitate a change of assignment if the intern still feels totally incapable of meeting the technology challenges in the company. Discuss the situation with the intern supervisor and ask for a different position for your student. Both the student and the intern supervisor will be grateful for your help in resolving the issue early on before it becomes a major problem.

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