Virginia Tech LDDI Internship Best Practices

Internships should be educational experiences that provide students with an opportunity to begin and continue their professional development. Sponsoring organizations should put thought and energy into planning for the intern experience paying specific attention to making the internship a learning and growth experience as opposed to being simply a demonstration of things the student has previously done or already knows how to do. An intern’s primary duties should not involve repetitious performance of previously developed skills or performance of routine clerical tasks.

Below is a list of internship best practices within the land development industry:

  1. Significant Work
    Students should be provided with assignments and projects that correspond to their field of study, and that are based on their talents, skills and experience. The internship should be a learning experience for the student which provides an opportunity to apply educational principles. Ideally, an internship should include a mixture of both office and field work such as surveying and environmental investigations.
  2. Increasingly Challenging Responsibilities
    Successive projects and assignments should provide interns with increasingly challenging and meaningful responsibilities as the student progresses through their education. Every attempt should be made to have the intern be a productive member of the team having that opportunity to see tangible results of their efforts.
  3. Industry / Company Exposure
    During the internship students should be provided with substantial exposure to the “overall” sponsoring organization as well as to the industry as a whole. Interns should be provided with opportunities to attend and participate in meetings both within and out of the sponsoring organization. Exposure should be provided to entities such as consulting firms, government review agencies, builders and developers, construction contractors, political bodies and citizen groups.
  4. Mentoring / Supervision
    Companies must ensure that students are provided with adequate guidance and supervision. Interns should be assigned a mentor within the organization who remains in that role throughout the internship.
  5. Performance Evaluation
    Students should be provided with meaningful written evaluations of their performance during the internship.
  6. Student Internship Evaluation
    Students should be provided with the opportunity to evaluate and provide feedback on their experience during the internship