Securing meaningful work experience at high school is invaluable – ensuring students can develop relevant skills for their future, explore career fields and gain a better understanding of their interests and values in a professional context before making life-changing decisions about if, where and, what they study at University.

Unfortunately, internships and job shadows are incredibly challenging to find in high school, with many employers asking students to be aged 18 or above for an internship, or have advanced skill sets to be able to complete meaningful work. Moreover, if a student does find work experience, the outcomes are often undefined, with companies lacking time, resources, or understanding of how to support high school interns.

This is the challenge Virtual Internships solve – our mission is to guarantee all students meaningful, relevant and virtual work experience with a company aligning with their interests and career ambitions and with the wrap-around support, professional development and coaching from Virtual Internships. Internships online remove barriers including geography and cost, allowing companies to provide supported and flexible internships and for students to access international, structured work experience from any place. Since 2018 we have supported 7000 interns to work with companies from our 12000+ network. 

With the pandemic accelerating the world towards remote or hybrid working, the Future of Work will undoubtedly require transferable digital skills which a remote internship provides in abundance. Skillsets such as using digital project management tools, scheduling meetings across time zones, and presenting in a remote environment are all invaluable when preparing for the future of work. 

Where can students find information about virtual internships?

Many larger companies around the world now offer virtual internship options, allowing more students to be able to apply and take part. Students should check the conditions and ensure they are compliant with visa regulations and labor laws where required. Alternatively, virtual internship providers such as Virtual Internships make the process straightforward, students apply and are matched with a company and supported by a project-based curriculum and Internship Facilitator Virtual Internships. 

What are the similarities and differences between in-person and virtual internships?

In-Person InternshipsAll InternshipsVirtual Internships
Exploring Workplace
Culture Mix of day-to-day projects and larger projects “Water Cooler Networking”
Direct industry exposure Increased transferable skills
Career Exploration Professionalism
Workplace communication
Structured project-based assignments
Exposure to digital tools such as Trello, Slack, Zoom, etc.
Access to new opportunities
Commute and access 
Administrative work / “Coffee & Copies”
Supervisor Engagement
Unpacking Skills Gain
Lack of presence Understanding Workplace Culture
Increased initiative needed
Networking is structured & limited
Technical issues can halt work
Risk of Isolation

What are the different models of virtual internships?

Virtual Internships have become a hot topic off of the back of a global pandemic, and with an increase in popularity comes a convergence of a range of different internship models. It is key that students understand the difference in order to choose the right experience for them. 

Sian Steggles is an international business development manager with 9 years of experience working in the education sector.