Exceptional internships are not stagnant programs that are set in stone. They are adaptive to the needs of your business and the changes within your industry. To optimize your internship program, appeal to a global talent pool, and create remarkable opportunities, your internship program must be regularly updated. Learning how to improve internship programs is a surefire way to make a positive impact on your business and your interns.

In this article, we’ll explore how to improve internship programs and turn them into exceptional opportunities for professional growth and development. We’ll cover every step of the process, including:

  1. How to assess your existing internship program
  2. How to attract international candidates
  3. How to use simple tricks to improve your program and work culture

At Intrax Global Internships, we specialize in assisting world-class customers in developing internship programs that connect cultures and promote professional success. Our mission is to provide high-quality educational and work programs that connect people and cultures, inspire personal growth, and prepare individuals to succeed as global citizens. Connect with us today to learn about how we can assist your program. Let’s begin by exploring how you can assess your existing internship program and find opportunities to improve your offering.


Assessing Your Existing Internship Program

The first step in how to improve your internship program is to assess what you’re working with. This requires accountability, humility, and a healthy dose of criticism, so you can clearly identify what needs to change to ensure your program’s success. 

Some key questions we’ll focus on to help guide your assessment include:

  • What do your diversity and inclusion practices look like?
  • How do you define roles and responsibilities?
  • How can you optimize your existing internship program?

We’ll help you find the answers to these questions by thoroughly investigating what is and isn't working in your internship program. 

While industries and internship opportunities differ, it’s important to remember that an internship program’s success starts from the ground up. You can have exemplary resources, team members, and equipment, but all of that falls flat without the right culture and working attitude.

Ensuring Diversity and Inclusion in Your Internship Program

When first assessing your existing internship program it’s imperative to identify areas where you can foster diversity and inclusion. This is vital in promoting accountability, trust, and positive progression for companies. It’s a time to sit down as a team and ask the hard questions when it comes to internships, for example:

  1. How can we improve our commitment to diversity and inclusion?
  2. Who’s voices aren’t being heard?
  3. What needs to change to better support our staff and interns?

Diversity and inclusion is not a case of applying a one-size-fits-all solution. If your company has a history of implementing the wrong diverse recruitment practices, then it’s time to identify why that is and get to the root cause of the issue. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a world of skilled global talent. 

Fostering diversity and inclusion is more than just appearing socially progressive. It is a necessary part of driving a strong workforce that celebrates success and achievement. When investigating how to improve internship programs at your company, making improvements to cultural diversity and inclusion must be a top priority. 

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

No matter if your internship program has run for a couple of years or a couple of decades, presenting clear information about your company and the expectations of an intern’s role is crucial. To improve your internship program and attract global interns, you need to be direct about what a role will entail and what sort of tasks a prospective intern will be responsible for. 

When creating your job listing, be sure to jot down every aspect of the role that you need candidates to know. Be clear on what is essential for candidates to succeed in filling the role, the basic skills they should have, and what are your “nice to haves.” For example:

  • Must-haves: A specific type of degree or language proficiency
  • Should-haves: Ability to obtain a J-1 visa or have experience with a specific industry-related software
  • Nice-to-haves: A certain level of industry exposure or additional relevant skills

Your “must-haves” should cover the critical skills, experience, or education to pursue a role. “Should-haves” must include anything else that you deem especially relevant to the niche of your industry and the type of internship you’re offering. “Nice-to-haves” are the cherry on top of an application. 

If a candidate can identify where they fall within these three categories, you’re more likely to find qualified applicants who can successfully fulfill the role. Using this method, the first mention of an internship role at your company provides candidates with your expectations and a clear image of a purposeful role.

Optimizing Your Internship Program

Your internship program, whether new or well-established, must always be subject to occasional tweaking. Taking the time to address recurring issues and opportunities to streamline processes ensures your recruitment practices are adaptive to challenges that may occur based on things that are out of your control. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable. Creating a process for reflecting on what is and isn’t working within your program and responding to challenges is a crucial way to begin optimizing your program.

The best way to approach improving and optimizing your program is to address the internship’s core purpose. Some questions to consider when optimizing your internship program include:

  1. How has our internship program changed in the last year?
  2. What kind of tasks have become a priority?
  3. Which departments would benefit from having an intern?

The questions above will help you gain clarity on the type of adjustments you need to make to ensure your internship program aligns with the purpose of the role. When focusing on how to improve internship programs, identifying the aspects of your program that are unclear or no longer relevant is a key way to revise an opportunity and make it stand out to global talent.

Attracting Global Talent to Your Internship Program

Now that you’ve identified the areas within your internship program that stand to be improved and have defined the steps you need to take, it’s time to consider how you can make your program stand out to global talent.

Creating an exceptional internship program that stands the test of time relies on addressing the intern's needs and communicating what makes your business stand out against your competitors. While you may already have a clear idea of the latter, identifying an intern’s needs makes all the difference when appealing to international candidates.

We’ll focus on what candidates look for when considering an internship opportunity, including:

  1. Professional development opportunities
  2. Networking opportunities and mentorships
  3. Unique benefits

Let’s start by diving into the importance of creating professional development opportunities, and how you can introduce new methods to enrich an intern’s experience.

Creating Professional Development Opportunities

For global talent, a driving factor for pursuing global internships is gaining professional growth and improving industry skills. When offering an internship program, it is imperative that you and your team focus on creating opportunities to expose your interns to new technologies and methodologies. 

Remember that you are assisting interns in taking their first step into their field of choice. Creating professional development opportunities hinges on your engagement and the mark you make as a company. Three ways to provide rewarding professional development opportunities for interns include:

  1. Project involvement: Whether you’re running a marketing campaign or a product launch, providing opportunities for interns to take ownership of a part of a project is a great way to offer hands-on experience and invaluable skill development.
  2. Attend events: Involving your intern in industry events is a great way to encourage networking and wider industry exposure. From conferences to webinars, there are plenty of ways to deepen an intern’s interest and understanding of your industry. 
  3. Increase awareness: Engaging your intern in conversations about challenges you face in your industry is another immersive way to provide professional development. By having a new perspective in the room your intern may offer unique insights and can learn from discussions that arise when working through something as a team.

Your intern is highly driven to impress and eager to learn, so finding ways to satiate their curiosity and enable critical professional growth is a vital part of your internship program. 

Ensure you and your team are well-equipped to provide a variety of professional growth opportunities ahead of your next internship program. This will result in valuable personal development opportunities for interns and your team members.

Developing Relationships and Mentorships

As previously mentioned, networking opportunities offer enriching ways for interns to engage with peers in their field of choice and gain important industry exposure. Creating frequent opportunities for interns to make quality connections is an important part of how to improve internship programs. 

Senior team members who can offer their extensive industry knowledge are the perfect candidates for mentorships during the course of an internship program. Your intern is ready to work under someone who has a lot of skill and history within their field of interest. Identifying which members of your team would enjoy and benefit from a mentorship opportunity is a great way for interns to develop industry relationships.

For mentors, working with an intern is a great responsibility that reinvigorates your passion for your industry. You’ll go back to the fundamentals of your role and form a new basis of knowledge with the help of a new graduate. Throughout the duration of an internship program, you’ll use your professional knowledge and emotional intelligence to assist an intern in getting their start in their specialized field. It’s a powerful opportunity for all parties to make connections that last and assist each other in professional growth. 

Offering Unique Benefits for Interns

As new graduates are eager to seek out competitive opportunities, it’s important that your company stands out against the noise and offers benefits that support and uplift interns. We’ve developed a few strategies to attract global interns and provide competitive benefits that make your internship program highly appealing, including: 

  • Offering flexible opportunities
  • Making cultural transitions easier
  • Providing access to resources

One of the most cost-effective benefits to offer interns is flexible delivery options for an internship program. By increasing your program’s availability to remote and hybrid opportunities you can adapt your offering to support the right candidate anywhere in the world. 

Should your program be in-person and require your intern to relocate, offering accommodation options is a great way to make the transition easier, especially for international interns. By providing an intern’s living arrangements you’ll not only be making the internship program more appealing to global talent, but you’ll be significantly reducing the stress of finding a place to live for the duration of the program.

A J-1 visa is also an important factor in your internship program. Working with a J-1 Visa Sponsor like Intrax Global Internships can streamline your hiring process and greatly improve your internship program experience. Other benefits include:   

  • Fast Response Time: Intrax Global Internships can issue DS-2019 forms within 2 weeks from receiving all completed application documents, along with conducting a phone interview with you and your potential intern.
  • Easy Process: All documents are submitted online, making for simplified correspondence and more organized processes. 
  • Professional Assistance: Our team can assist you with completing the necessary documents to onboard new interns.
  • Reliable Service: Since 2003, Intrax has been designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 Visas and to issue the DS-2019.

Last of all, providing access to company resources is a rewarding benefit that highly impacts an intern’s experience. By providing access to company software, documentation, and amenities, interns are fully immersed in their industry experience and have the best shot of learning on the job.

Tips on How to Improve Internship Programs

The last step in how to improve your internship program comes down to things you can tweak within your business that steers towards wider company success. Internship programs offer great insights into how your team can strengthen their connections and work together on shared outcomes. With the introduction of an intern, your team is offered a unique opportunity to share their industry knowledge and guide new graduates into their field of choice.

In this section, we’ll explore how to create a culture of learning within your teams and create pathways for communication. We’ll also identify the benefits of working with Intrax Global Internships to make your international internship programs a resounding success.

Creating a Culture of Learning

In everything we do in life, we learn from our experiences. Internship programs are no different. If you and your team can adopt a culture of learning and celebrating success you are sure to create an exemplary program that will build a positive reputation.

Encourage staff of all ages to adopt a growth mindset. When facing new or recurring challenges, stay positive and communicative with interns and your team. Discuss problems and devise solutions through strategy, practice, and lots of encouragement. Creating a culture of learning and growth doesn’t happen overnight, but laying the groundwork before your intern starts their program with your company makes a difference.

When your new intern starts, having a dialogue around each team member’s uniquely personal professional experience is a great way to introduce a culture of learning and growth. Celebrate your different professional backgrounds and the lessons each person has had from their journey to their current role. This will have a lasting impact on your intern, who will be able to take a growth mindset with them when their program is completed.

When exploring how to improve internship programs at your company, don’t overlook the power of creating a culture of learning and growth. You’ll find teams who grow together work better together.

Opening Paths for Clear Communication and Growth

Much like having a culture around learning, the second biggest strength you’ll need to improve your internship program is communication. Ensure that your team knows their voice is not only heard, but valued and encouraged. This will have a lasting impact on your intern and plays a critical role in how to improve your internship program. 

Use your internship program to strengthen your team's communication skills and create opportunities for discussion. Be proactive in engaging your team in regular conversations around projects, difficulties, and wider business goals. While this may sound straightforward enough, taking the time to do this regularly is what makes an above-average team stand out. 

Setting a standard for communication and growth is a great way to show your intern how an effective organization operates, which they’ll carry on to their next role. By creating opportunities to communicate clearly and grow as a team, you’ll find resolutions are developed quickly, and each individual team member is heard.

Work With Intrax Global Internships and Develop a World-Class Internship Program

At Intrax Global Internships, we know how to improve internship programs and create rewarding experiences for global talent. We’ve helped teams across the world establish highly regarded international internship programs that help world-class interns get acquainted with their industry of choice.

We make it our mission to help new graduates thrive in their respective fields and access exciting global internship opportunities that offer significant professional growth and support. Discover how we’ve helped companies like yours establish fantastic global internship opportunities that positively impact international talent.


Learn How to Improve Your Internship Program with Intrax Global Internships

Discover how we can assist you in creating a world-class internship program. From J-1 visas to STEM programs, we’ve got your company covered with industry knowledge on internship best practices, standards, and more. 

Contact us today to learn about how we can help you develop an impactful global internship.

Sep 30, 2023

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