How To Make An Internship Programme Work

Mike Gaffney CEO at LEAP01 September 2011

There is a lot of negative noise out there at the moment regarding JobBridge and work placement programmes in general, which has a bad reputation in the media. This is understandable as they are primarily passive leaving them open to abuse by companies. Potential participants are naturally adverse to being exploited adding further insult to their current situation. So how to make an internship programme work? There is a solution – and it is simple. For an internship programme to work it needs to be:

• Active
• Focused
• Demonstrably Supportive
• Deliver Results – Create Jobs

JobBridge, although well intentioned is falling short on each of the above. Let’s look at the most effective internship scenario:

1. A company with a resource need – preferably a specific project
2. A person with the attitude to make the most of the internship
3. A possible job if the internee delivers sufficient value to the host company and the position is rewarding for the individual

If this is our ideal scenario, let’s build our internship programme around creating this scenario as frequently as possible:


Participants and Companies
Key Requirement Participant Company Country
Active – Support participant to find the best
fit internship
– Provide matching expertise
– Vet company’s intent
– Define internship –
project- Business mentors liaise with companies
– Every applicant actively supported in
getting an internship- Build self esteem of
Focused Dedicated training to build confidence, self esteem and skills to get back to work Clarify company requirementsFind the most suitable candidateProvide alternatives A collaborative programme between companies, participants and supportive entity
Demonstrably Supportive Individual mentor support for each participant to ensure internship is working for the internee Mentormonitor internees progress, make correction as required – with company agreement Right person
Right company
Right project
Right result – Job
Delivering Results – Secure Jobs (25{aa1e4c34c9c0f46e0a1f04e30c2eb1b9efaea7a47ed6ca6f324476e114da37f4})
– Develop individual self esteem and confidence
– Expenses Payment provided by the
company (and retention
of all benefits)
-Tangible improvements
to company
performance- Opportunity for
individual to secure job based on performance
Report success:
– Jobs created
– Other labour activation
solutions, eg: Further
Education, Start Your
Own Business


Why am I so confident that the above approach works. It is because it already has been tried and tested in Ireland and has delivered compelling results. The Irish Centre for Business Excellence has run a hugely successful internship programme – Begin AgainTM in 2010 and 2011. Over 700 internships were created and over half of the participants have secured jobs which is an un-precedented success. The success of Begin AgainTM is due to the integrated approach:


• Rigorous matching of individual to the right placement
• Focused training – building self-esteem and the skill set to secure a job in Ireland
• Dedicated mentor support to each participant
• Internship’s of value to the company and the participant

Mike Gaffney
6 Galway Technology Park

Tel: (091) 755 736