Outdoor Industries Association Blog

How internships can add value to our industry

At a time when we are debating how we can both retain and attract talent to the outdoor industry, especially during these lean times, internship provides a great value for money solution for businesses.  A recent survey report by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) showed that 69% of employers see internships as a good way to develop new talent in an industry sector, and 76% think they can be used as a way to test potential new staff.  Internships can be especially beneficial for SMEs looking to either attract new business talent or take on new staff on a project basis without the long term commitment and cost.

The OIA has just partnered up with Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) to help its members tap into some of their expertise and talent pool. Internships bring many benefits to companies including investigating issues, opportunities or problem areas. It doesn’t have to be project based, although there are many areas theses students specialise in such as marketing and branding, HR management, workflow problems and organisational change. The employer also has the additional benefit of accessing the knowledge held at the University via the project supervisor.

There is no quick fix, but along side working on a new outdoor retail training scheme, our new partnership with LUMS provides another avenue to not only raise the professional profile of the industry but also give businesses a fantastic opportunity to work with some real business talent who can make a difference to their company.  And these students are no strangers to ‘the real world’ as they work with outside clients as part of their course.  Of course interns are not free, but as with everything in life, you get out what you put in.  So if you are in need of someone to make the office tea and do the photocopying on the cheap, then employing an intern is probably not for you…

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