A Career Taste-Test: Our Internship Programme
At Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing), students benefit from many programmes and initiatives offered through the Student Support Services Department. A great example is the annual Year 11 Internship Programme. Overseen by the school University Guidance Counsellor, this internship programme helps students on the university track, to boost their skills and build their personal portfolios, ahead of the competitive university application process. The internship programme is especially useful for students who plan on attending university in Korea. As it provides them with an opportunity to procure a letter of recommendation from an employer, which they will need when applying to Korean universities.
During the final week of this year’s internship programme, we spoke with University Guidance Counsellor, Mr Jonathan Mellen about the programme.
1. We’ve been running this programme for many years now, is there anything new this year?
One notable addition has been aligning the programme with our Child Protection Policy this year to bring it fully in line with our general school guidance regarding child protection, both on and off campus. This was an area that hadn’t been formally addressed in the past, and it only made sense to ensure that all participating companies received and agreed to our protocols. We work with fantastic companies, and our students are very mature, but they are still children. So we wanted to make sure that their working hours and interactions with managers and co-workers were calibrated to keep their young age in mind. For example, overtime isn’t permitted for students in the programme, even if they want to work extra hours.
2. How did you help the students find these opportunities?
We have a good network of contacts we’ve built up over the years. We drew upon this pre-existing cohort of companies to find internship options and then arranged interviews for the students. We did accompany the hopeful candidates to their interviews, but they had to take the interview one-on-one without help. We were just in the building with the required internship programme paperwork for the potential employers to sign, in case a student was hired on the spot.
3. How do things work during the programme?
For two weeks, students report directly to work each day and put in a full day’s work. We check on each student about once a week, just to see how they are getting on, and to ensure everything is in order. These visits also provide a convenient opportunity for the students to communicate any questions or concerns to us directly.
4. Why do you think it’s important that we offer this programme?
The internship programme provides a chance for our students to pick up job skills and life lessons. From refining their CVs to following the direction of a manager and learning to comport themselves appropriately in a professional environment, the work-experience is very valuable to our students. Plus, interning lets them get a taste of the world of work, and begin to figure out what they do and don’t like.
5. Any advice for students who might want to work this summer in targeting and securing enjoyable, quality roles?
Really work on knowing yourself and what you like to do. Know your strengths and weaknesses. When looking for a job, try to pick something you’re passionate about that fits your personality type. Work hard on building up a resume that reflects who you are not just what you think you want, this will help you attract a role that is a good fit for you.
For more on YCIS Beijing's Year 11 Internship Programme read our "Job Skills and Life Lessons: Year 11 Internship Programme" article.