Students struggle to get the most from their Intra placements during Covid-19

For many students Integrated Training (Intra) is their first experience into the world of work of their chosen profession. It can create opportunities for final year students and for some students Intra placement results in a full time job for after they graduate. Employers mentor these interns and look out for potential future graduates.

However, due to the coronavirus this has been delayed or in some cases cancelled for students. Without this first hand experience students may struggle to find jobs, decide on a career path and build connections in their field.

In DCU students have been left without Intra placements due to COVID-19, which may affect their degree. 55% of students in DCU have not secured an Intra placement as of yet and many who secured Intra placements abroad now have to look for another one within Ireland.

For courses such as Marketing, Innovation and Technology, third year is solely based off Intra, which normally starts in June and is active for 11 months. However, these dates have been postponed until September, leaving students in a difficult and confusing situation.

“There will be a controversy because most people’s start dates have been cancelled until September and some companies are saying we can end Intra in May, which wouldn’t fulfil the 11 months we need to move onto final year,” said marketing student Oran Doogan.

For other students Intra is going ahead for them but unfortunately many must work from home. Completing Intra from home is not allowing the student to fully take advantage of the experience, as they are not meeting co-workers, sharing ideas or surrounded by a working environment.

Building connections through Intra placement is a key factor for students once they complete their degree. Students who are currently working from home may not build sufficient connections as their only contact with their co-workers and their employers is over the phone.

“I don’t feel as though I am receiving the full experience, it’s a much more relaxed setting as to an office, which is not what I want, I want to be working with people as that is what my profession is about,” said Conor Breslin, a journalism student.

Since students are not getting that first hand experience by working from home, many feel as though they have to work harder, so they can stand out to their employer and hopefully make a lasting impression from their work alone.

DCU are working with Intra students to ensure they get as much as they can out of their placement. However it is clear that due to this global pandemic these students will not receive the same experience as they were once promised.

Aoife Breslin

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty