Have a more structured approach to internship

Unhappiness and inconvenience can be avoided if there is a structured approach to internship ("When internships go wrong"; May 24).

Before the internship begins, it is essential that students have an insight into the set-up and operations of the firm so that they are better prepared for the attachment.

Schools and firms should collaborate on designing programmes that are beneficial for both students and companies. For example, an internship in a supermarket can be structured around four main areas: store operations, advertising and promotion, customer care, and security.

Such a programme provides the student with a good knowledge of retailing before he embarks on a full-time career in it, if he so chooses.

Firms involved also stand to gain from viewing things from the student's perspective. In short, it is a win-win situation for both parties. To ensure the success of an internship, lecturers should keep in touch with their students, including making visits to the firms so that any hiccups can be resolved promptly.

Most importantly, firms should regard internships as complementary to their businesses, and not treat interns as "cheap labour".

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng