The MASZ NA STAŻ! BIS project, aimed at students of Finance and Accounting at Kozminski University, ran from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2019. Its main objective was to improve the skills and abilities expected by employers among our students by enabling them to take part in high-quality internship programmes.
The envisaged support could be planned to be so extensive thanks to the several complementary pillars it was based on. The logic of the undertaken activities involved broadening the areas of the offered support. The activities carried out as part of the process of recruiting participants and employers made it possible to get actively involved in the offered initiatives, and the university was able to focus on the specific needs and motives of individual participants and to shape the support path accordingly. Then, the participatory design of the internship programme defined the detailed scope of its implementation. The internship, in turn, helped those who served it boost their confidence and their motivation to act, created an opportunity for them to develop specific competencies and see how their skill sets met the demands of the labour market – and draw from the experiences and solutions from abroad. At the end, the conducted competency test made it possible to determine the extent of improvement and prepare an individual report with recommendations for further professional development of the Management students taking part in the project.
We had 54 persons taking part in the project. As a result, they:
- improved their competencies as a result of KU’s activities supported by ESF,
- increased their awareness of their own competencies,
- prepared themselves better to enter the job market,
- improved their skills in at least 2 areas (professional, communication, entrepreneurial, analytical, and IT).
Students interned for almost 14 thousand hours in total. Many of the interning students (about 30%) were given an opportunity to continue working for the employers they served their internships with after graduation. The internships turned out to be an excellent opportunity for students and employers to get to know each other, revise one’s expectations, and decide if there was a chance to work together in the future.
Although the project has finished, we’re still taking advantage of its effects, implementing them in the daily practice of our university. We continued the resultant model within the framework of further projects carried out by Kozminski University, which included an internship programme: AKADEMIA 360 and AKADEMIA 4.0 (zintegrowane systemy podnoszenia jakości w ALK). The tools worked out are used in the support offered by the Career Development and Alumni Relations Office as part of e.g. competency diagnosis and preparation for interviews (as part of individual counselling, depending on students’ needs). The internships were served with e.g. Dell, Adecco Poland, Hyper Poland, Westin Warsaw Hotel, Idea Partners. The continued collaboration with employers goes beyond the framework of the internship programmes themselves. Employers are invited to take part in various initiatives organised by KU, e.g. job fair events or meetings for graduates. The success of the project resulted in a declaration and vision of further collaboration between KU and employers. It was thanks to the “MASZ na STAŻ! BIS” project, among others, that KU decided to start a range of initiatives in the area of digitalisation, digital transformation, and e-commerce. These were the areas named by interns’ supervisors and employers as crucial to becoming able to compete successfully in the job market, and ones that needed to be developed. For instance, as part of our Management programme, we launched a new elective course - INDUSTRY 4.0, which was co-taught by industry practitioners. All this contributed to the achievement of the project goals, becoming at the same time its added value, which pays off by improving the quality of education at Kozminski University.