Students can bring fresh perspectives and welcome enthusiasm to the organizations who hire them while helping to reduce the workload. Failure to prepare, however, can result in unmet expectations and wasted time for both student and employer. As Propel accepts applications from tourism sector businesses interested in participating in our winter Student Work Placement Program, we offer the following friendly advice for maximizing the experience.
Plan a List of Tasks Ahead of Time
Ideally, a work placement (internship, co-op, apprenticeship, or other paid work-integrated learning initiative) will be a win-win for both student and employer. In order to accomplish this, provide your student with real tasks, not just busy work. Brainstorm a list of duties and potential duties in advance. Start your student off with simpler, less crucial tasks, and allow them the opportunity to graduate to more difficult and consequential work. From the student’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a corner, ignored. They’ll fail to gain the experience they seek, and the resulting word of mouth may be damaging to your future recruitment efforts.
Communicate Your Objectives and Expectations on Day One
Greet your student with an open and honest conversation about the road ahead. Provide them with a job description and seek feedback. If you intend to provide special training, now’s the time to let them know. Part of their objective will be to receive a strong letter of recommendation at the conclusion of the work placement, so it’s helpful to spell out expectations and discuss how performance will impact the nature of your potential endorsement. Remember, a work placement is about gaining experience, so base your appraisal around attitudes such as willingness to learn, as opposed to perfect execution.
Provide Your Student with Valuable Exposure
Think ahead: will there be meetings, conferences, or special events during your student’s term? Could they be included? If possible, expose them to multiple leaders in various roles. Bring them into the loop and give them an opportunity to make professional connections.
Designate Them an Enthusiastic Mentor
A student can be a resource, but also requires an investment of time. The student’s experience will be enriched if they are mentored by an individual who makes an honest effort to interact in a meaningful way. Students who are tossed around the workplace like a hot potato will fail to gain needed career advice. While other staff members should be encouraged to interact and share perspectives with the student, they shouldn’t compete haphazardly for their time.
Ultimately, your company may wish to hire the student on a more permanent basis. A strong mentorship relationship will help your company gain a more complete understanding of their potential, and may encourage the student to stick around.
Invite Your Student to Share
Harness your student’s enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Ask them about their motivations and areas of interest. Encourage them to ask questions on an ongoing basis. They may have a hidden talent that benefits your business!
Maximize the Programs and Resources Available
The Propel Student Work Placement Program is now accepting applications from businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector that are interested in hiring a student for the winter term. Qualifying employers will be provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program. For more information, or to sign up for a virtual info session, please visit PropelCareers.ca.
Additional tools and programs are offered in partnership with Tourism HR Canada. Emerit Tourism Training supports a wide range of tourism-related occupations with National Occupational Standards, online and paper-based training, and professional certification for tourism employers and students. Please visit emerit.ca for the full list.