Association for Project Management
The value of upskilling: An intern’s perspective
We recently shared the stories of Megan Stewart and Alex McGlynn, two participants in an internship programme run by IQVIA, a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions, and clinical research services to the life sciences industry. We asked them for their thoughts on the value of internship programmes for the wider project profession.
Why do you think it’s important for organisations – in any industry sector – to invest in the upskilling and professional development of young project managers?
Alex: “By taking on graduates or young professional project managers, companies can really guide and influence the raw key skill developments that all project managers will need throughout a successful career. From my experiences, many young professionals are highly motivated and eager to learn and develop new or key existing skills to help enhance their career. Having young, driven project managers exposed to the company early can give a great understanding of how each level of how the industry, company and projects are run. Furthermore, as they grow and develop through various roles within the company, you have a well-rounded, experienced project manager on your team.”
Megan: “The investment of upskilling and professional development is so important as it allows organisation’s young project managers to be able to learn new information and develop themselves. This not only improves their personal knowledge and skill set, but also likely makes their management more productive and valuable to their organisation by building strong brand ambassadors. Management can also often get comfortable in their role; therefore, this investment is extremely important to encourage the continuous improvement of management’s skills, knowledge, leadership and performance.
“When management are invested in, this also reflects well on their team, as management have additional knowledge to better lead and teach and additional information is passed down through their team, making the workforce more powerful.”
Do you think this kind of internship programme is something that other employers should consider introducing? If so, why?
Alex: “Without a doubt companies should consider a similar internship to this at IQVIA. Having a programme set up with a balance between training sessions, guest speakers, opportunities to gain qualifications and exposure to billable project work was a real taste of working life and career development. The contract extension allowed me to apply skills learnt in the internship and lead to a strong performance throughout. I have seen been offered, and accepted, full-time employment, as there is no other place I’d want to start my career moving forward. I would recommend this to any company or young professional looking to get involved in an internship.”
Megan: “I think the internship programme is a great idea for other organisations to take on board. It can be so hard for people to get their foot in the door at amazing organisations like IQVIA, due to lack of experience. For example, those interns who completed this internship during their summer break from university now have the experience needed to be able to return to IQVIA and also show other potential employers what they have been able to learn and achieve during their time as an intern.
“For Alex and I, who joined the internship after completing our university studies, it has allowed us to gain the experience needed to be able to stay on with IQVIA. Not only does the internship programme have benefits for the interns I also believe it is very valuable for the organisations. Gaining access to young talent is extremely important for companies as they are the next generation of leadership. In addition, from my personal internship experience I have found that IQVIA is a great company to work for and therefore, it is somewhere I would like to work long-term and recommend to others.”
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