“INTERNSHIPS: CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD”
Written by: Varshitha Reddy, Student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune
(P.C. The Economic Times)
In today's world, attaining an internship in itself is one of the toughest, most competitive journeys one can face on the road to success. Not only is receiving a placement a task; somehow, staying in it is equally complex. Nevertheless, knowing and being aware of the difficulties in a working environment is critical. Being cognizant and preparing for an internship plays a crucial role in securing work and maintaining a level head during a course. In this essay, the author will highlight the critical problems faced in the light of interning, giving special attention to law-based placements.
Key words: internships, difficulties, working environment.
This essay considers the various aspects comprised in an internship and how its different areas have diverse complications. Understanding, these impediments from altered scenarios will help shed light on how to tackle these problems, leaving room for enhancement.
Internships give a fortuitous for trainees to branch out their talents into various fields and altitudes. Something's cannot be found within textbooks and the walls of college classrooms.
Internships are a temporary position offered by an association or individuals for a constrained time. Placements are received through various methods, although retaining one's place in a working atmosphere is not always conclusive. Every individual will target and yearn to be part of a successful business or organization to gain the most experience. Contrary to this belief, the knowledge gained, even from the most unexceptional place, is valuable. The quality of education and experience received may differ from internship to internship. However, an intern's skill is best tested when put in an environment in which one is unfamiliar.
The problems in the legal education field, give it any prosperous or incipient filed are interminable. The "real world" and the competitors for it are endless, therefore putting one's applied and practical knowledge of the test is a requisite. Internships form a critical opportunity for the application of these skills into the job market, especially in the field of Law, where the ability of observation and patience go hand in hand.
Interns dangle at the bottom of the food chain at the workstation, yet, they need to showcase their best efforts. Trainees involuntarily need to put in their most beneficial skills and intellectual dexterity to meet up to the expectations of those in higher authority. They owe their accountability and awareness to another; this is a vital learning point for one on the road to a productive and responsible working life.
"Law is reason free from passion" – Aristotle, although the author would like to add to this statement as passion is the key ingredient to freedom and life.
During the intern's work periods, an individual experiences various career paths, something one can stumble upon by accident. Internships help one to survey different extents of their work; this can indirectly help one to get a clearer idea of what they want to pursue. In some cases, one can finally decide if one would eventually wish to proceed or abandon their current career path. Internships play as the pivotal factor while thinking about one's future advocacies. Internships are impermanent, therefore playing an unexpected role in which, an individual can trial their expertise in an unaccustomed environment
Different work fields have numerous concerns. To test this theory, the author has conducted a real-life survey, taking into account the area of internships in the working world, giving particular regard to law internships. The author also highlights the various problems related to internships concerning clarifications to advance them.
CONCERNS IN THE INTERNING WORLD AND WAY FORWARD
Nepotism and use of pecking order in the judicial system are vast becoming notorious. The practise of using influence while getting an internship is quite common, however, not in every case. The author lays statements to those average students who don't use leverage nor have the highest criteria and recognition in their field to manage their internships. A concerning factor as though they have the drive to learn, there aren't enough available opportunities to reach their level of interest. Therefore firms and learned associates should give fair and equal amounts of shots to every enthusiastic and determined student to showcase their talents. Colleges should ensure that every willing student is given a fair chance at gaining experience outside college walls. (Refer to figure 1.5)
The author wants to discuss how personal interaction and experiences at an internship might change one's career field. A good mentor and work environment encourages individuals to show their potential in a more comfortable setting with less fear. (Figure 1.10)
The market for attaining internships is limited. To pick from a pool of individuals based on their skill in itself quite discriminatory as talent can always emerge even after the selection process. However, this is not still the case as hiring interns fluctuates according to higher authorities.
Discrimination is seen countless times in all fields of work. Employment discrimination happens when an employee or job candidate is treated unfavourably because of age, disability, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race or skin colour, religion, or sex. Interns fit into the incorporation they serve; therefore, the employers must make sure they are protected and made to feel safe.
The term "citizen" can refer to anyone, and the term "intern" can also relate to any one of these citizens. This intern can be a female, male, transgender, pregnant, disabled, or of any race. Every individual, be it an intern or an associate, all deserve equal treatment with dignity.
The legal system enforces several ways in which an employee's rights or an individual can be protected. As stated in:
Ø Article 14 guarantees Equality before Law.
Ø Article 15 prohibits the state from discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth.
Ø Article 16 empowers the state to make reservations concerning appointment for posts in favour of backward classes of citizens if in the opinion of state, such classes are underprivileged.
Discrimination found due to the college an individual is based from, is seen throughout the country. Especially in Law, where the stigma related to high end jobs are evident. Top tier firms in the country get more credibility and recognition than a mediocre firm, not to mention the benefits and perks that come with it, although, one cannot put a price or assurance on the experience received at any firm.
Discrimination is also located within the Interns, which indirectly leads to a hostile work environment, disturbing the potential candidate's path. The "harsh work environment" experienced while interning should refer to the tasks of work given. In many cases, it refers to one's personal prejudice against another at the work station. (Figure 1.12)
The distinction between "assistant" and intern" is that assistants are paid, and interns are not. But of course, interns are paid inexperience. - Joyce Carol Oates, Beasts 
Interns have unique ideas when it comes to task management and solution findings at firms; therefore they must receive equal credit and praise for their help in achieving an organizational goal. Individual firms accommodate interns with a stipend, while others in experience and job satisfaction. Setting an allowance according to the firm's circumstances and capacity shows gratitude for the work put in by the budding intern. The authority does benefit through the interns' experiences; therefore, their effort and time shouldn't be for free. In most cases, interns take back experience as a form of payment, although this is not enough in most situations (seen in figure 1.9 and 1.13)
The biggest myth related to internships is that one gains more experience working in a high profile environment or firm. This myth, be it a high-end law firm, high-class hotel chain, or an independent high-end fashion designer, is based on perception. Understanding and receptive capacity of an individual are critical, as an intellectually average individual excelling theoretically, might not be able to perform those skills in a changing environment practically. Applying these skills together in a harsh environment is what makes a lawyer or any other individuals stand out.
Due to an organization’s changing environment, miscommunication is common. Due to the loss of communication in the hierarchy or authority, knowledge can be lost in the process of teaching and educating. High-end firms do not guarantee high-end learning. The quality of education cannot be guaranteed at any work station, no matter its reputation. The interns themselves fight to seek experience, although this can lead to personal trauma as well as unfriendly competition.
It is up to the higher authority to provide quality education and offer a friendly working atmosphere to train the interns not only practically but also for life outside of the work station.
In the survey taken, some of the primary and most repetitive concerns noticed are of discrimination, pay and attainment of the internships, as addressed in the paras above.
Another concern not addressed in the survey would be regarding online internships. Unexplained situations or interruptions frequently occur in today's demography. One such case is the concerning covid19 pandemic in which the work stations were kept on halt. Online work and internships became the new way of continuation in the working world. Concerns regarding the amount and quality of work given in placements and online internships is worrisome.
In the survey conducted, there were even fears regarding discrimination based on sex. Women are leading experts in various professional fields. However, discrimination based on sex needs to be eradicated.
Staying late nights is a concern, especially when it comes to females. Depending on the work area and situation, the authority should be more flexible when it comes to timing and workload. Organizations should keep in check the fairness in the work atmosphere. Human resources teams should keep a regular check on the disciplinary actions of an organization.
In every profession, as every individual must excel even outside the workplace and overburdening of work on an individual can mentally as well as physically drain a person. Providing facilities and protection such as a stipend, accommodation, and flexible work hours help reduce the burden depending on the severity and capacity. (Figure 1.8)
Trial and error go hand in hand, the more number of internship done, lead to more experiences, may it be bad or good, this highlights the potential of a candidate from day one. This is the climax of interning as internships are impermanent, leaving room for abandonment with a choice.
From the very beginning of studying Law to practicing it, one can find countless flaws. Tackling these flaws is equally vital for those in the law field, as it is for those approaching the field. An individual approaching any work station, especially professional, will have many concerns impending it. The key to facing these obstacles and fears are recognizing, tackling, and being aware of them. This is exactly what an internship offers, except it gives one the chance to sink in all these emotions after trial and error, giving an individual a preview about their future endeavours.
REFERENCES Amartya Bag, Types of discrimination in workplace and their legal protection in India, October 21, 2014, available at https://blog.ipleaders.in/types-of-discrimination-in-workplace-and-their-legal-protection-in-india/ Christian Eilers, Goodwall Blog , available at https://www.goodwall.io/blog/internship-quotes/