Why and when should you ensure a professional mentor to students on internship? What skills and competences should a good mentor have? How can a whole company benefit from employee mentoring programmes? Among others, these were the issues we tackled with experts from Lego and Ericsson.
On 26th January 2017, we talked to János Ács, Onboarding Manager of Lego Manufacturing Ltd. and Vilmos Beskid, Head of R&D at Ericsson Hungary Ltd., about the benefits and challenges of mentoring Hungarian and foreign students on internship.
Hungary has been increasingly popular among foreign students; by now, annually over 5,000 Erasmus students come to Hungarian higher education institutions or on internship.
Mentoring Hungarian and foreign students on internship is a long-term investment for companies, which plays an important role in brand building, training a new generation of professionals, reducing the burden on the staff, as well as in assuming social responsibility. They welcome applicants who conduct studies in a field which is relevant to the company, who speak foreign languages, primarily English, who want to learn, who are open, enthusiastic, motivated and dare to ask questions for the sake of their own development.
Both companies have established processes for selecting interns. On a yearly basis, Lego and Ericsson receive 30-40 and 70-80 interns, respectively. The latter currently employs four foreign girls as interns in a technical field.
The strategic agreements concluded between companies and higher education institutions also play a key role in recruiting foreign students. Lego maintains close cooperation with the Department of Polymer Technology at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, as well as with the University of Nyíregyháza. Ericsson has strategic relations with Eötvös Loránd University and Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Corporate practice shows that mentors are mainly chosen based on their professional skills. According to Vilmos Beskid, it’s important that mentors should be able and willing to transfer their knowledge to interns. They choose professionals for mentors who, depending on their workload, volunteer to be mentors and have interpersonal and leadership skills. Neither company uses an incentive system to remunerate mentors; it’s crucial, however, that the mentors should be present when students are selected. At Ericsson, mentors spend 10% of their working hours on such duties, and the company maintains a tight-knit network of mentors who mutually support each other. They realized that mentors could become good team and professional leaders.
Both professionals confirmed that they regarded running employee mentoring programmes as long-term investments. It’s a company advantage that during internship, students become familiar with the company culture and the company also becomes familiar with the students, with whom they can keep in touch. Interns promote the company and that’s also a good brand building tool. The guests invited referred to experiential examples and told us that after their studies, students often returned to their places of internship.
Last modified: 08-12-2017