When it comes to seeking opportunities to start or further your career and build confidence, it pays to seek out an internship opportunity and mentor. Landing an internship and finding a mentor can happen simultaneously or independently. An internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a student’s field of study or career interest. A mentor can help you achieve your career goals by helping you develop your skills, provide valuable networking opportunities, and offering insights developed over years of experience. Therefore, both an internship and a mentor can provide immeasurable benefits for long-term career growth and satisfaction.

An internship/mentorship provides opportunities for career exploration and development, and to learn new skills. It offers the employer the opportunity to bring new ideas and energy into the workplace, develop talent, and potentially build a pipeline for future full-time employees. For these reasons, Chief created a partnership with Grand Island Public Schools to mentor sophomore girls from Senior High’s Academy of Engineering and Technology.

In the fall of 2020, the women in Chief’s technology department kicked off a mentor program with 12 sophomore girls who are interested in careers in engineering, technology, and aviation. Chief’s goal is to expose them to these professions in a real-world setting, which will hopefully result in them pursuing careers in these fields. The mentor program topics include the makeup of Chief’s technology team, touring the Chief plane with our pilot, interacting with Chief Buildings’ female engineers and drafters, exploring the technology used on the shop floor at Chief Fabrication, and Chief’s security and disaster recovery plan. Chief strives to help students develop and achieve individualized career insights and objectives, orient themselves to the culture within our company, and potentially find a mentor to help guide them as they begin their career journey.

Seeking out an internship or mentor program is a great way to gain valuable work experience and to identify careers that align with one’s interests and talents. Here are 10 benefits of an internship or mentor program:

  1. Gaining valuable hands-on work experience that cannot be obtained in a classroom setting. In addition, it teaches transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and computer proficiency.
  2. Exploring various career paths to become acquainted with a field that is of interest.
  3. Acquiring an edge in the job market by building a robust resume’.
  4. Developing and refining skills based on feedback from mentors who are established in the industry.
  5. Receiving financial compensation while gaining valuable work experience.
  6. Networking with professionals in the field. The professionals you encounter during an internship may be your future colleagues or the connection to your first full-time position.
  7. Being included in conversations and projects that go beyond one specific role. Most jobs are comprised of “other duties as assigned” and are unlikely to fit into one set of criteria. Therefore, an internship has the power to expose individuals to other careers and areas of interest.
  8. Gaining confidence by applying textbook theories in a safe environment where mistakes are expected, and feedback is encouraged.
  9. Receiving effective evaluations coupled with clear direction on how to make improvements.
  10. Transitioning into a full-time position.

The end goal of any great opportunity is to be offered the ability to do it long-term.
Internships and mentors provide an inside look at how a company develops leaders rather than just learning about it in the abstract. They can be an extension to education and provide a range of confidence-building attributes to apply to future employment. An internship can be an excellent way to “try out” certain careers.