These unprecedented times have enforced on us a need to reinvent and evolve. We can no longer stand by the traditional methods of learning and development. The epitome of this is the fact that schools and Higher Education Institutions have already adapted to the online model of learning. It might have been a challenge at first, but with time the virtual learning module has been effective and comprehensive and comes with its own set of advantages.
We cannot limit or restrict the children who were born in the century defined by Advancements in technology, where tech-enabled platforms and innovations have led the way. From Virtual to Augmented Reality the students who belong to Generation Z, are already several steps ahead of us as far as the use of technology is concerned. Tech-savvy is just who they are.
Even though we have managed to reform the curriculum to help the students gain the necessary knowledge even during the enforced lockdowns, but is that enough for their career-development journey?
Be it a High School student, a college freshman, or a recent graduate, practical experience has always been an integral part of a student’s journey. Internships have provided for the necessary experience or exposure that a student may need to discover and understand the nuances of a particular career domain.
Due to the social distancing measures, several corporates have resized their organizations, and millions of employees across industries either lost their jobs or were asked to take a sabbatical, in such a difficult scenario finding an internship would have just been impossible, but as they say, challenges often enforce creative solutions, and that is exactly what one may call the concept of ‘Virtual Internships’.
Creativity, Innovation, and Research came into play and a concept which was just a thought a few years ago, came to be a reality in no time.
Engineers, Scientists and Innovators had to reinvent their thought process, planning and strategizing took charge, and a collaborative model was introduced, with the vision to co-create a space for engaging with our community of learners in ways that are redefining the change around us. Through the medium of connected learning, the educators were thinking about innovative strategies and it would be safe to say that the result has been a resounding success.
Students have been anxious for the better part of this year and were concerned about how the University admissions will pan out around the world. This also affected their career decision making trajectory, as now the students and their parents were not only worried about the next step, but also reconsidering the choices based on the prevailing uncertainty, and the future of careers and several industries.
With the education spectrum going virtual, we witnessed a significant rise in the use of online platforms and applications like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. There was a similar trend being observed in the working dynamic, as remote learning became the new norm. This is where the concept of Virtual Internships was able to find its footing.
A number of Tech Giants, Corporates and Start-ups acknowledged the opportunity and designed or created a set of Virtual Internship Programs that were designed to give students an insight into the working world, virtually from the comfort of their homes. The process was further complemented by the Organisations recognizing that connecting virtually with interns is not only a convenient process but is also an efficient one.
The opportunities were present, it was about recognizing an effective way of making them available. The main advantage of a virtual Internship is that it offers flexibility to the student. It allows them to select options that otherwise may not have been available due to geographical limitations. Students can apply for virtual internships available across the country or globe to support a myriad of projects ranging from content writing to public relations to social media engagement to website designing to data analysis and much more.
All a student requires is an internet connection, a device and the will to learn and make the best use of their time at home.
Some of these internships are more like career simulations and allow students to immerse themselves into a virtual journey, deep-diving into the aspects of a particular career and understanding the journey of a professional who has been successful in the career path they might be interested in. The ideology behind a Virtual Internship is to provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on exposure to every realm of a particular career field by practically trying, rather than by assuming facts.
Students are motivated to complete these Internships as they get certificates for the same, which can certainly add value to their CVs and allows them to familiarize with a particular career domain. One should have the knack of being able to research on a topic online for hours and be aware of the perseverance and thus they can further enhance their familiarity with digital tools.
Even though the concept of virtual internships is fairly new, it has gained prominence in no time. Virtual Internships will have a significant impact on shaping the career decisions for students, as students are able to learn about the career domains they are interested in, and this can help in the career decision making in the following ways:
- The students will be able to understand the career domain which they were considering, well enough, to see if they have the necessary skill sets for a particular career. This will help the students work on building their profiles for the career they are passionate about.
- A student may also feel that maybe a career which they were considering earlier is not the right choice for them, as they might be able to acknowledge the gap between their expectations and the reality of it through these internships.
The students will be able to brace themselves for the practical world and be adept with at least the basic know-how of the career domain they are willing to pursue.
- This is certainly the new age of learning, with the world going digital and virtual. Students and parents have to be open and appreciative of this unique opportunity in the form of Virtual Internships. Simulations are not just restricted to gaming now, it is part of the learning methodology, and will surely be an integral part of how we learn and work, in the foreseeable future.
To discover more about Virtual Internships, and how to choose and find the right one for you, please reach out to us at Mindler!