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The power of the intern

One of the biggest problems graduates face when entering the world of work is a distinct lack of experience in those everyday workplace routines, be that liaising with colleagues and attending team meetings or simply getting on with the job in hand. If students could take time out from their studies and prepare for the world of work at an earlier stage in their career with internships, it would definitely be an advantage to their personal development and something worthwhile to add to the CV. The companies prepared to welcome university students through their doors, meanwhile, gain a unique perspective on young talent and discover what’s most important to them in the workplace, from working practices to a firm’s values and philosophy.

Thanks to the South China Morning Post’s expertise in the job market and talent acquisition via resources such as Classified Post and, it is well placed to bridge the gap between university and the world of work. As part of its newly launched Young Professional Club, an initiative that unites job-seekers and recruiters, it has partnered with a diverse range companies and prestigious line-up of universities to deliver its first initiative, the University Internship Programme.

Whether students are keen to explore the many paths their careers could take or simply hope to discover something beyond their major, this new initiative delivers a gateway to expanding their job opportunities. Indeed, by signing up to take part in the programme, students not only gain valuable work experience but also get the chance to develop and refine skills and network with professionals in their chosen field.

While the advantages to university students of getting on board with this new initiative are obvious, there are also several benefits to human resources departments, not least of which is the chance to see if these interns will be a good fit for job vacancies or places on training schemes. The University Internship Programme additionally enables them to connect with students and gain a better understanding of their mindset and expectations of the workplace.

HKT is keen to partner up with the Young Professional Club and get on board with the University Internship Programme from the outset. “As a premier telecommunications service provider, we have transformed and expanded our business scope beyond connectivity over the past decade to build a new digital ecosystem. To sustain business evolution and the talent pipeline across HKT, the internship programme is an essential channel to provide the company with the opportunity to connect and discover new talent.”

HKT agrees that Classified Post and cpjobs have proved good partners on various occasions over the past few years. “They are devoted to helping students prepare for the workplace by leveraging on their expertise of the job market and talent acquisition. The University Internship Programme has provided a great platform for students to get connected with industry professionals and gain first-hand working experience in the real world.” HKT provides a foot on the career development ladder for young talent by developing them through the internship programme and graduate trainee programmes. Young talent from any profession or discipline are all welcome to join the University Internship Programme.

June Chung, Dascher’s Head of Human Resources & Administration, Air & Sea Logistics Asia Pacific, says the company is always keen to invite local talent with an interest in the logistics industry and supply chain management to join Dachser. “In Asia Pacific we invest a lot in training and development, and value our locally grown employees. We launched the Asia Pacific Management Trainee Programme in 2017, with the first batch of the trainees graduating this summer, and all of them have secured a place at management level. We are constantly looking for young talent to join us, and the University Internship programme enables us to get in touch with a pool of high calibre talent from top local universities,” she says.

There is a frequent misconception that logistics-related roles are traditional jobs that are labour-intensive, repetitive and have long working hours, all points Chung is keen to challenge. “In Dachser, our claim is intelligent logistics, and we focus on digitalised systems and processes. Having many in-house developed systems such as warehouse and transport management systems, we always aim to improve connectivity with customers. Therefore we have a high demand for students who study Business Processes and Organisation.”

Besides those who have an interest in global trade, Dachser welcomes candidates from many other backgrounds such as information technology, human resources and communications, says Chung.

Chung reiterates what many job-seekers and HR departments know only too well: fresh graduates have great textbook knowledge but lack real-life work experience. “Our internship programme provides them with hands-on experience. If, for example, the intern joins the ocean freight pricing department, he or she will be involved in doing pricing strategy and analysis. This gives them a deeper understanding of the industry and job function, so that after they graduate, they will be ready to contribute.”

Interns who join Dachser through this programme will be assigned small projects based on their interests and their expertise instead of basic office admin tasks like filing and data entry. If the students perform well during their internship, they might be offered a place on its management trainee programme after graduation.