What we are looking for in a Internship Program

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Job Opportunities

A number of companies are interested in providing internships to our students but do not know what to do. This list can help to guide you on your journey to train our future leaders.

1. Structure — I have heard of many “intern horror stories” where the student was stuck updating RFIs (Requests For Information) all day, every day with little to no variety in daily activities. To address this problem, an intern training matrix can be developed during the first week of the internship to outline the activities that will be covered during the internship.

2. Mentoring — Set the intern up with a mentor who they can go to with any questions. The intern experience is primarily a learning one, so the intern should “wear out” the mentor with numerous questions. The mentor is someone other then the intern’s boss and is typically someone with at least a couple years experience.

3. Responsibility — Give the intern some responsibility – this could be as basic as keeping the record drawings up to date (which can be a huge task on large projects) or as elaborate as providing an initial review of potential change orders quotes from subcontractors. The main point here keep the student engaged and busy enough that they are not just sitting in front of a computer honing their skills at solitaire or minesweeper.

4. Exposure to a Wide Range of Construction Management Activities — Expose the intern to a wide range of construction activities with a focus on field construction activities. Typically an internship period is only a few months long, so a focused effort is required to introduce the intern to as many area of construction in a short time frame. This is one of the main reasons that I use the intern training matrix referenced above.

5. Exposure to Company Culture — Welcome the intern to the team as if they were to become a full-time member. Expose the intern to as many cultural activities as possible.  An internship is a great time for a student to determine if they are a fit with the particular company and you can be assured that the company providing the internship is making a similar evaluation.

If you are interested in providing a internship to our students please contact: Norman Takeya at 844-2376 or ntakeya@hawaii.edu

  1. Mr. CM says:

    That’s a great list for any company looking to provide internships. Having done three construction management internships during college, which were all great and which applied all of the above topics, the one thing that I would add is exit interviews where the student and company could give each other feedback on, both positive and negative. Good luck with your internships!

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