Exploring the relationship between internship and employability.
Marie-Jeanne, Julien Pierre Jacques.
MetadataShow full item record
This study aims to shed light on the current debate regarding the role of internships in higher education in graduates’ employability. Facing unparalleled challenges to deal with the problem of graduate unemployment, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are gradually anxious with the professional insertion of their graduates in the labour market. Graduates, academics and employers from three sectors of the Mauritian economy – Finance, ICT, Hotel and Accommodation who have participated in internships were interviewed for this study. This study aims to assess the importance of internships for the employability of graduate students. Three inter-related dimensions are explored. Firstly, the extent to which the introduction of internships in study programmes contributes to the decrease in graduate unemployment rates is analysed. Second, the extent to which the different features of internships, namely those associated with their length and structure, contribute to lower graduate unemployment rates is assessed. Thirdly, the internship approaches, which seem to allow greater job preparedness, namely those related to interns’ supervision entailing close collaboration between universities and employers, are discussed. The key findings of the study were the perspectives on graduate attributes, perspectives on an internship, academic learning for employability, workplace learning for employability, additional learning for employability, and the challenges and opportunities in preparing graduates for employability. Both employers and academics in this study displayed their interest and initiative to lead change in their respective environments and for their benefit. Further, the new collaboration between academics and employers provide graduates with relevant internships. Results demonstrate that study programmes that include internships tend to significantly enhance graduates’ employability, particularly within the universe public higher education institutions. Besides the instrumental value of internships, the impact of the nature and structure of the internship on the percentage of unemployed graduates who get a job after an internship with the same employer are also discussed. Mandatory internships and the inclusion of multiple, shorter internships throughout the degree are negatively associated with unemployment levels because employers prefer long duration placement of graduates. Results also indicate work-based learning can be used as a successful strategy to bridge theoretical knowledge and practice and enhance graduate employability. These findings provide important insights for the evaluation and/or the design of internship programmes in higher education. Benefits of internships are extensively reported in the majority of interviews dealing with the professional integration of graduates. There is a consensus that internships can be regarded as an institutional mechanism that facilitates graduates’ transition from higher education to work. Thus, showing that there is a relationship between internship and employability.