It has been about three months since the COVID 19 pandemic put a pause on almost everything around us. Employment has added an “un” to its beginning and unemployment is suddenly a major talking point that has people worrying and wondering what the future holds for them. This firmly puts the spotlight on an unorganized section of employees called Interns. In such a times, interns have suffered more than most employees. While most employees have been laid off or suffered pay cuts, interns are not sure what kind of a future they have considering many of them have not received their certificates from the companies they served in, even as their exams and results hang in the balance.
First, the good news. On the plus side, the gig economy seems to be looking up with a lot of companies looking for freelancers in order to save money on regular salaries for employees. This is probably one area where interns could benefit. Also, seasonal jobs by companies like Amazon would help these interns.
Although there is danger and a lot of fear in the air, but the country and the working man are finally recovering from what seems like forever. Let us understand the plight of the Intern. The Webster dictionary defines the Intern as “An advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field (such as medicine or teaching) gaining supervised practical experience (as in a hospital or classroom)”, and here in lies the fault. Interns are individuals who are often least honoured in any organisation and often keeping them around is seen as a liability more than anything else. Irrespective of how competent or bright they are, keeping them around has its own petty risks. They are normally not covered with any sort of medical safeguard and hence letting them enter the office space during any health emergency, becomes a huge risk for everyone.
In such challenging times more than ever, with university degrees being reduced to a few hours in front of your laptop, people are looking for new ways to make a living. The misconceptions often believed are that interns are fresh out of college, around the age of eighteen to twenty; don’t really need jobs. But I can assure you this is far from the issue. Technology has moved into more and more fields today, and mechanization and other aspects have given rise to things people have been doing for years now. In these times, interns can be people of the age of 30, even 40 – even people who are learning new skills. They have bills to pay, and although don’t expect much in financial compensation, they would in the near future. They wish to take their careers forward and hence an example of this could be an IT Professional who always had a love for baking. With his workload reduced, he could intern in his local bakery to maybe grow his hobby into a full-time professionals! Some more good news.
Payments made to the interns often makes them accountable for the work they accomplish, and hence it is essential to try out various skills. Today interns, are well not doing so promising. Interns generically need to be taught and guided. Although this might seem very insignificant to an IT engineer who can practically get everything done online, but it is all vastly more complex when applied to various real-world business.
Below are some very common issues faced by the inters in every possibly every field:
The first point would be that how most of the interns have to figure out their work on their own without receiving remote help from seniors or superiors.
The second one would be the rural challenges considering the location of most interns.
But here is the problem – due to covid-19 these Interns are stuck in a place where there is no stable power or internet. Even people in urban places are struggling as during the pandemic since 90% of all Internet bandwidth is being consumed by unconcerned people on Netflix and other video steaming platforms!