Benefits of WPL for workplaces
The benefit to business of taking on students starts with the obvious “try before you buy” and the reduction of recruiting costs. However, it goes beyond that as it provides the opportunity for an organisation to develop their own personnel’s abilities in activities such as mentoring new talent and supervise students in the workplace.
Placements also provide the opportunity to give potential leaders who have no direct reports the opportunity to manage at the same time train potential talent.
The business can gain from the new energy a student brings to the allocated team and the business overall. New eyes without precedent or prejudice can assist in solution development as well as feeding back (given the opportunity) a candid view of the business, its culture and whether it is it a good place to work.
Student placements introduce the next generation to the business and the associated opportunities. Students on placements also develop network connections within the business and the industry. They can also become positive advocates of the business and the industry. Conversely a student who has a poor experience on placement can also become a negative advocate.
Effective WPL has the ability to provide significant benefits for students, industry, workplace student supervisors and universities. Here, some industry leaders and workplace student supervisors discuss the benefits of WPL for both themselves and their businesses.
“The end result for our firm was the completion of a project that I would never have gotten around to doing on my own. There was no way that I could complete the project with my other work commitments – I just kept on putting it off. The intern was so willing to take on the project and she did an excellent job. It feels great to tick it off the to-do-list!”
“Initially I thought that taking on an intern would be a great way to give back to my university and help to develop a young student’s career. While it is that, I didn’t realise how much I would personally get out of the experience. The students did an amazing job completing their projects definitely increased productivity for my business. It’s been great.”
“The student has already enhanced our social media strategy so much. It’s also been great having someone young in the office – they bring so much energy!”
“I found supervising a student really satisfying on a personal level. It was really inspiring to work with enthusiastic students who have new ideas and fresh eyes. And also just to know what they’re teaching at uni nowadays! It made me realise just how far I’ve come since I graduated. Working with students also made me stop and reflect on how and why I do things the way I do, which is always useful.”
“If we have a really good intern, we definitely try to keep them. Every company needs to recruit new staff. The last student I supervised was offered a job at the end of the placement.”
“I’d never had the opportunity to act as a mentor to someone before. It was a bit nerve-racking at first, but I’ve learnt so much from supervising students. It’s really rewarding and I think it will help my career trajectory in the future.”
“From a strategic point of view, it’s a great way to trial a potential employee without having the obligation to keep them on after the placement finishes. For us, it reduces hiring costs by quite a bit.”
"Our business needs a diversity of people with different thinking and experiences so we can capitalise on market opportunities, particularly as we grow our business. So when considering interns or graduates we want people with not only strong interpersonal communication and problem solving skills, but also other attributes or capabilities which are driven by business strategies and initiatives. We might be interested in students or graduates from an Asian background because the project we’re working on needs people who have an understanding of and an experience with Asian culture, including the ability to speak Mandarin. This has definitely been the case with activities related to the expansion of our Hong Kong operations as well as product development for the Asian market.”
"Our Industry is a strong supporter of student placements as it provides the students the opportunity to link the theory taught in our accredited courses with the practice. It also provides the students exposure to the workplace and the culture of the industry they are considering entering and it provides our members who host the students the opportunity to identify potential new entrants to the business."
"Our group regularly has up to 20 students on placements. This provides us with the opportunity to assess potential talent. Expose students to the culture of our organisation. See how they work in new and different environments and with people. We do receive a short term benefit from the energy an untainted attitude they bring however the long term benefit is those who join us come in with an understanding of what’s ahead and know they have found an opportunity to start a career."