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Why your brand should offer virtual internships this summer

Virtual internships for university students.

As offices remain closed and companies tighten their purse strings, students and young people are finding that the summer internships they were promised have been cancelled, and opportunities to get the experience they need are increasingly limited. However, we are seeing a rise in virtual internships, a concept that existed prior to the pandemic and, like trends such as remote work and video conferencing, could be the new way forward even as life returns to normal. Here’s why brands should be considering running a virtual internship scheme for summer 2020 and beyond.

Support young consumers

If you want to demonstrate that your brand truly cares about its Gen Z customers, virtual internships are one of the most effective ways to achieve that goal. Young people are increasingly expecting brands to do more than just provide quality goods and services, and to play a supportive role in their lives. In our latest survey of Student Beans users, 64% said they’d like to see more brands offering work placements and internships as a way to help them during the pandemic, compared to only 28% who saw brands’ role as keeping them entertained and distracted from the news.

Virtual internships for university students.

Discover young talent

Offering work placements and internships, either online or offline, should be part of any brand’s recruitment strategy. It’s a great way to build relationships with talented young people, who could be your future business leaders. Working with driven, creative young people now will give you an edge over competitors when they come to choose their graduate roles in the future. Bringing young people into your business also helps you to look at your work from a new perspective, especially when you combine their fresh outlook with the experience of your existing team.

Attract a more diverse workforce

By running your internship online, you are opening up the opportunity to a much wider group of applicants, as they are not required to live in or travel to your office location. This means that you can not only create more equal employment opportunities but also bring more diverse voices into your business. Hiring interns from a wide range of different backgrounds will help you to understand Gen Z at large, rather than just the typically smaller subset who have access to a traditional internship. You can feed these learnings into your marketing, product development and business strategy.

A student works on her laptop from the comfort of her sofa.

Make the most of lockdown opportunities

With many typical student jobs unavailable at the moment due to closures in industries such as leisure and hospitality, there are more students available to take part in internships this summer. As of May 2020, 53% of students who had a job had been put on furlough, and another 18% had lost their job. This means you’ll have a larger pool of applicants, enabling you to select the candidates that best fit your goals, based on their individual skills and passions. The students will also be more keen than ever to make the most of their summer, as they know they’ll be entering a competitive job market when they graduate.

Discover more about the impact of COVID-19 in our infographic, Student Life During the Pandemic. Download the UK and the US edition in our resources area.

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