Virtual Internships knows the importance of ROI for university students and has created an opportunity to gain academic credit for internships.
The Sustainable Path to Increasing Graduate Employability in Africa
In 2020, Botho University and Virtual Internships (VI) partnered to launch a pilot program that allowed students to intern remotely, gain work experience, and leverage career coaching and development material all in exchange for academic credit.
Botho University had been trying to place their students in global settings for many years but had always encountered issues, for example, with permits, and labor market issues. It felt impossible, but during the pandemic, they decided to find a real and sustainable solution. Botho University forged a partnership with VI who provided remote experiential learning programs for a small group to begin with, which quickly grew once the remote work was deemed successful.
VI helps students gain the experience of working remotely with real companies on real projects, so they can gain skills and competencies that employers in today's market seek sustainably to enter the global workforce work-ready – even if they cannot travel and work abroad.
In line with their Botho Graduate Profile, the university sought to:
- Produce well-rounded, versatile, globally-conscious students
- Promote personal and professional self-awareness
- Encourage diversity of learning, learning new digital technology, and knowledge of remote/virtual work processes.
How Botho University Implemented the Virtual Internships Career Accelerator Program
When Botho searched for a way to help their students not fall behind in their career preparation during the pandemic, they contacted VI to see if a solution was available.
A handful of students undertook the pilot, with expert guidance from both the Botho staff and the VI coaches. The pilot grew and Botho put more rigorous classroom requirements around the experiential learning program to ensure maximal learning and skill-building.
Optional support was provided to students by their university staff members in additional to the expert support from VI's Internship Experience Managers. All VI inclusions are mandatory for Botho students to maximize their credited experience, including the 50 CareerBridge courses (resulting in a CareerBridge Certification), coaching calls, and completion of evaluations.
We encourage all interns to create long-lasting relationships with their host company supervisor as they can provide impactful recommendations on LinkedIn, great job references, and provide networking opportunities for future work.
Botho University gives academic credit to all students who complete the Virtual Internships program making their students academically and professionally prepared to enter the workforce.
How Botho University Increased Student Employability
- At least 50% of the students expressed that they received an extension or offer of employment after their placements
- Students expanded power skills, critical thinking skills, collaboration/team skills, and learned new technology.
“We have been trying to place our students globally for many years now. With labor market issues, with permits, and other issues, this had always been just a pipe dream for us. With Virtual Internships, we seem to have cracked the solution to that problem.”
“Having Virtual Internship experience gives you an opportunity to be diverse, flexible, and gain an advantage over others because you already know how to work in a virtual environment.”
Check Out the Full Botho University Story