A CV without practical experience is not especially compelling. Why should a company hire someone without any practical experience? That’s just too risky.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy for young people to earn practical experience. Of course, they do learn a lot at school or at the university. However, it makes a difference whether you develop a small algorithm on your own or whether you work in a team on a commercial project.
Internships are one way to earn such practical experience. The problem: interns often have to do menial jobs and don’t work on real projects, and they often don’t receive a lot of guidance and support from seniors. In the end, an internship may not result in relevant practical experience either.
Catalysts tries to stand out by providing a lot of high-quality internships.
Over the years we have hosted literally hundreds of interns. We’ve received a lot of great feedback and praise from our interns for our efforts. As of 2016 we have the following three models for internships:
- “Schnupperpraktikum” (Mingle with Catalysts) – a 2 to 4 weeks internship in February to get a feel of how it would be to work at Catalysts. In Austria, all pupils have one week of holiday (but sometimes get another week off for an internship if they ask their schoolmasters). University students typically don’t have lectures in February (but possibly exams in the first or last week). No matter how long those pupils and students can take off, we are happy to welcome them to our team. Every year we have 5 to 10 interns.
- Summer Internship – to work for just 4 weeks or 3 months at Catalysts. Every year we have around 50 interns during the summer in our larger locations, most of them for 4-5 weeks, some stay as long as they can, i.e. 9 weeks for pupils or 3 months for students until the start of the next semester.
- “Berufspraktikum” (Semester at work) – to work for at least 60 days at Catalysts. All bachelor students at the University of Applied Sciences in Hagenberg are required to intern at a company for one semester (details).
What’s common to all three kinds of internships:
- we integrate our interns well into our teams which means working on real projects
- there’s a personal “onboarding coach” for every new team member (I’m going to talk more about that in the next blog post)
Altogether we really like working with young high potentials. It’s always a great time for us and for our new team members. Some interns immediately stick with us as part-time workers. Many others come back in the future. In some cases we can also provide the practical context for a diploma / bachelor / master thesis. Naturally that depends more on the professor than on us.
Our mindset towards interns is: we will learn from each other. We’ve seen again and again that young minds bring us new questions, aspects and ideas. We like that. It’s one way to stay flexible.
Generation Z is highly welcome 😉