Challenges Of The Outcomes Of The Internship
Students can put what they have learned in class into practice and see what it is like in the real world through the internship because it is one thing to sit in the classroom learning but it is another to be actually doing that. It is a good opportunity for students to implement their thoughts and advance their knowledge. However, there is the possibility that what they have been taught might not be matched with what they experience in the real setting, thus creating a gap between theory and practice where the theoretic information is weakly linked to practical practice. But the relationship between the two is not mutually exclusive but more complementary to each other. For example, as for accounting students, we need to know basic ideas about debits and credits before we use the professional accounting software. If we have no knowledge acquired on campus, we will not be able to do more hands-on work. We might not be taught how to use software to conduct daily procedure in the real industry, but the abstract concepts we have studied from lectures are a must.
Apart from professional skill, non-technical skills are also important. Employability is regarded as a set of skills that enable students to get a job after graduation. So, the issue is that the employer’s notion of improving employability through a vocational program might compromise what universities are carrying out. Some universities emphasize the importance of developing employability, whereas there is a variance of universities’ understanding towards the meaning of employability and what the curriculum actually provides. Universities want to ensure their graduates can be well prepared to enter into a competitive and dynamic workforce to fulfill their requirements from the government. They pay more attention to the skills for “current”, while what the industry needs might be a broader range to get students prepared for the complicated work. Organizations believe that placement should be more focused on discovering the potential of the students and developing abilities related to prolong learning and advance contemporary thinking. The meaning of employment should be concerned more with abilities, since universities take on the responsibilities to cultivate students’ cognitive employability through their acquiring knowledge, asking questions, thinking, understanding and applying and even failure.
To some extent, it is hard to define work integrated learning (WIL), so it is not surprising that lack of consistency of understanding towards cooperative education. Students, universities, and organizations do not share the same interpretation. Some students think WIL integrates knowledge because they put theory into practice. And it is true if both universities and organizations can offer students an environment to apply acquired knowledge to a real-life scenario. The learning through the internship is not that students can learn in class and in the workplace, but they are able to combine both. So, it comes to the question that how they integrate.
While sometimes what students have learned does not match with the real role, practice knowledge gives way to theory studied on campus because the theory is dominated in academic education. However, it is affirmative that students are able to have the access to some field that they will never be taught in class through the internship. There are some concerns about the gap between the capabilities of graduate students and what employers are looking for. What is expected from accounting students has been recognized recently. The technical skill developed in universities, as well as non-accounting skills, shapes the professional accountant. The purpose of the internship is to let students apply technical knowledge to a professional context. However, it is doubted whether the accounting internships offer an adequate working experience that enables them to prepared to work after graduation. Students are given a series of accounting-related work, and bookkeeping takes a dominant part, which means using accounting software to input transactions or record manually. Some other tasks include lodgment of tax returns, reconciliation of accounts and analysis of financial reports. Some of the tasks limit students’ opportunity to develop interpersonal skills such as communication skill. Therefore, a further improvment needs to be conducted to enable students to be involved in interactions with others to develop their communication skills and networking.
However, feedbacks from employers provide an insight into how well students have finished the task and what improvement could be done. Interns should be well informed of the organizations’ expectations since commencement and regular conversations between two parties need to be followed to ensure they are on the same page. Students should be assessed on their accomplishments and weaknesses, so a good mentor is necessary to assist them to improve what they lack. Comprehensive comments might be a useful enhancement to vocational education.
Despite that the internship program bridges universities and workplace and it provides students the opportunity to have the access to be exposed themselves to real-world setting because It is viewed as a way of transition from students to employees, several issues still remain to be addressed. Students’ employability skills might not be fully developed during the program, as this would be the obstacles to the future career. There is a need to structure a sophisticated approach in order to well align the expectations of internship providers with students’. For instance, universities and organizations need to communicate deeply to figure out the drawbacks of internship settings and work together to improve it. What the internship enables students to experience is better to enhance graduates’ employability skills after finishing the project needs to be incorporated into a wider range of tasks more than mere basic manual work. Integrating a number of activities that help students to develop interpersonal skills should be taken into account by educational providers and internship providers. Moreover, it is necessary to develop the curriculum for students to better understand the direction and assessment of the internship program so that the professional practice covers the cultivation of employability skills required in future careers.
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