The pandemic dealt a severe blow to job prospects of younger people: if several economists in Europe have already raised the alarm on the new “lost generation”, in the USA college students found themselves between the anvil and the hammer. The lockdown has in fact interrupted the lessons, at least those in attendance, and at the same time blocked the path of undergraduates and recent graduates who were about to start the first stages, usually expected in the summer months. Instead the traineeships were the first to be “cut”: according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 2% of employers canceled full-time job offers, while 16% canceled internship offers. And among those who continued to offer traineeships, three quarters (75%) changed their plans: 40% of employers postponed the start date and 20% reduced the number of interns for the summer. The remaining 40% instead decided to adopt a new method: the virtual internship.
If in fact you can study at a distance e work in agil modee, as the lockdown has shown even to the most skeptical, in theory it is also possible to do an internship completely online, even if there is no lack of perplexity, linked precisely to the very meaning of the internship. Is it possible to learn the “secrets” of a profession or even just to enter a working context without being present on site and without being able to physically interact with colleagues? There are obviously no contraindications for some of the largest international banks: da Hsbc a Standard Chartered, da Citi a Ubs a Deutsche Bank, numerous institutes have decided to launch fully virtual internship and internship programs this year, a choice that is part of a broader strategy on the modernization of working methods. These are typically courses that include a combination of e-learning, problem solving projects and mentoring and networking initiatives.
The examples are different: last week Citi Asia Pacific completed the two-week virtual recruitment process for the suo Analyst Insights Program, a free online course that will involve four thousand students from 500 universities. Hsbc instead, it will focus on new courses focused on green finance, the future of the banking sector and the role of women in the sector.
For institutions, it is not only an obligatory choice, dictated by contingent needs. “It’s not just about the right thing to do right now, but about a way to make sure that our future workforce may be ready to work digitally “Melissa Angerson, head of early careers for Standard Chartered, explained to CNBC. The bank has just accepted 300 applications from 15 different markets for its global internship program, and 60% of these will undertake the internship entirely online. The rest, particularly residents of North Asia and the Greater China area, will instead experience a hybrid model, which combines physical and virtual elements. All participants in the courses, which will last from five to six weeks, will receive the same compensation as for the “traditional” 10-week internship.
Not only that: at the end of the virtual internship courses many of the participants will be added to the company. The same Standard Chartered has announced that it will hire all 2019 graduates full-time, with precedence for 2020 interns. And also Ubs is committed to training and subsequently employing 300 graduates in Singapore in the next 18 months: the first group, of 150 boys, will start a 60% -40% work-study alternation program in October and other similar courses are expected in spring 2021 and autumn 2022. Even in virtual mode, the internship remains, at least in these realities, a real opportunity.