Coming into another long holiday period for students it is not uncommon for Christmas internships to be applied for. For companies interns are an effective way of scouting talent to fill future roles or help fill gaps during busy periods. However the main problem for individuals seeking internships and companies seeking interns in Ireland it is an unregulated field as it relatively new.

The UK and the US both have regulations and guidelines to be followed as internships have been more of a longstanding form of work experience. Under the National Internship Scheme or JobBridge an intern is not an employee, but internships ejobbridgentered into outside of this scheme are not under the same legal terms.

One intern’s experience can differ from another intern’s. The type of role or experience they are given can include shadowing an employee, in larger companies interns may attend different departments, specific work or tasks may be given or an intern may be given tasks each day depending on a business’ day-to-day needs.

The type of task given to an intern or work expected of them they may be deemed an employee if there was an issue to be brought in front of an employment tribunal or court. And if they were deemed an employee in the eyes of the law, their rights as an employee would include minimum wage entitlement, hours restrictions, annual leave and dismissal regulations would apply.

Specific areas where internships are a primary way for real industry experience are in the tech and media industries. As with any internship experience in these areas can give an individual a competitive edge and a reference within industry.

As with the majority of students now most of their time is spent using some kind of technology for either academic or social reasons. With all this familiarity and grasp with computers and social media the question is then raised are interns effective to hire for your social media strategy?

Winternith social media being an essential part of how your business is marketed today it is vital to engage with these online audiences. A lot of time, resources and/or experience is required for a successful campaign.

“One of the biggest benefits to hiring interns is bringing some fresh young ideas and perspectives into your businesses” says Caitriona Giblin, digital media coordinator at the ‘Irish Daily Star’. “An intern should be plugged in and familiar with what’s trending to see if it’s something relevant to your business, and something you can capitalise on.”

“Once the intern is familiar with the brand philosophies, and how you want the digital world to perceive you, the rest should fall into place,” Giblin advises, “but it requires monitoring.”

It is also agreed within the industry that if the intern themselves is active on social media they know at the very least the etiquette of the various sites. If you or the intern makes one key stroke of a mistake and something goes wrong, the mistake is out there publically for the whole world to see associated with your brand.

If you search on JobBridge today you will find hundreds upon hundreds of exciting offers for social media interns. This is a method many companies use to find correct candidates. This is one of the three options a business can choose to activate their social media marketing. The other two options are to outsource or DIY. It is advised and also current practice in most businesses to pick and mix and chose a combination of two or three.

The cost for a business who decides to employ a full-time social media manager a starting salary for a role like this is approximately €25,000. This is just one example of how free media is a thing of the past and the importance of a visibility active online account(s).