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What Do Business Leaders think about Virtual Internships?

What about offering an internship to a worker you’ll never see? 

Virtual interns, are becoming a fixture in today’s increasingly flexible workplace.

Offered by companies of all sizes,virtual internships are making work experience more accessible especially during this period of emergency! The benefits are similar to the ones of remote working, opening up industries to bigger pools of talents and the proximity to the office is no longer a barrier.

Virtual internships are now offered by many large companies including KPMG and Deloitte. Peter Mead, head of marketing for Bitcoin Australia, is convinced that virtual work placement is crucial for addressing the dearth of talent in his sector. He says: “In Australia, there is a limited number of people with knowledge of key technologies that we use, such as blockchains and lightning networks. By promoting a virtual internship program, we get access to a global talent pool of crypto technology geeks.” 

He also thinks the arrangement is much fairer for interns. He explains: “When a traditional intern finishes a task, they stick around, expecting that there is always more work when, sometimes, there just isn’t. If the intern has traveled hundreds of kilometers for this empty opportunity, then this is just unfair. Virtual interns can clock out when they finish their tasks and back in when they’re needed.”

Interns so can save on travel, accommodation and business attire, and need never put their hands in their pockets for after-work drinks. The compromise is–probably–missing out on the chance to observe culture, team dynamics, and to develop people skills but they might be able to do it once they become employer of the company.

But some business leaders are concerned virtual internships stretch the concept of remote working too far, and think it should be reserved for experienced employees only. They think that the advantages of on – premise internships like strengthening interpersonal relationships and teamwork are lost in virtual internship. Virtual internship may rob young people of the chance to gain both skills and understanding of how the working world operates, from the coffee breaks to the in-office banter. Interns who don’t experience all these things may suffer later when it comes to having to do an in-office job. Young professionals to truly flourish, they need to be able to have experience in working alongside people, day to day.

With more companies offering flexible working options, and others becoming fully remote, virtual internships are likely to proliferate. The cost benefits to businesses–no desk space and fewer expenses–and to interns who needn’t cripple themselves financially to take part, are second only to the social and business benefits of opening internships to those who could not ordinarily afford to pursue work experience for little to no pay.But success will come down to willingness of businesses to support virtual interns with robust onboarding, e-learning and communication tools, and their commitment to training up a team to track their progress. Then there’s no reason virtual internships shouldn’t be a positive offshoot of the remote working wave. And in any case, nothing avoid to start as a remote intern to then join the company on site, a smart internship gives time to both the employer to evaluate the operates of a possible teams member and to the future employee to evaluate if the company he is interning for matches his skills and requirements.