STUDENT PREPARATION AND PLANNING
This area of the Internship Toolkit addresses preparation issues. In order for both the student and the employer to get the most out of the time spent together during the internship, the student must possess a reasonable knowledge of what responsibilities the internship position will include and what the employer expects. Simple issues such as the customary dress code, start and end times, appropriate telephone greetings, etc., as well as the type of required technical skills (accounting, word processing, spreadsheet, database, etc.) need to be addressed at this time so that the student can be well prepared for the interview process and the subsequent internship experience.
The school coordinator (Academy Director) and employers can help prepare the student in a number of ways. They should provide a pre-internship workshop, presented by employers, which address workplace issues, such as business etiquette, telephone skills, dressing for success, dining skills, etc. Employers may also put on workshops about resume writing, interviewing skills, oral and written communication skills, presentation skills, etc. This entire process is intended to prepare the student for a successful matriculation into a paid internship position following the junior year.
It should be noted that NAF provides enough flexibility in the timing requirements such that the internship can occur anytime after the end of the junior year at the discretion of the school and the employer. The duration of the internship must be the equivalent of between 6 and 10 weeks (240 – 400 hours), and it may occur during the school year on a part-time basis if this arrangement works best for the student and the employer. If the student has a preexisting job, this may in fact qualify as a NAF internship provided that the Director works with the supervisor to explain the purpose of the internship versus the regular job experience and is convinced that the student will have the kind of broad view experience that would otherwise be available in a more traditional internship setting.
It is incumbent upon the Director to ensure that the student receives the proper internship experience. If an existing employer cannot provide that experience, the student should be encouraged to participate in an internship with another employer.