Startups lead to surge in internships in Tamil Nadu

Vinayashree Jagadeesh,TNN | Sep 7, 2015, 01.12 AM IST


CHENNAI: If you thought internships for fresh graduates were mostly the preserve of the corporate sector, think again. The flourishing MSME sector in Tamil Nadu has led to an increase in internship opportunities for college grads, with up to two-thirds of interns now finding their way into start-ups and small enterprises. 

Head-hunters say interns are increasingly seen as significant resources in such companies which need extra hands on deck.

 Global Hunt India Pvt Ltd's MD Sunil Goel says demand for internships has been consistently increasing in TN, especially in manufacturing, IT and outsourcing services. "It is mainly the small enterprises and start-ups (e-commerce or product based companies) that have a big demand for interns as they need to get the job done with limited resources," he says.

 Incidentally, Tamil Nadu has 8.44 lakh registered micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) with the number of SMEs in the state having trebled since 2003-04, according to a report by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Goel points out that apart from the top academic institutions, most others are not able to find placements immediately for a majority of graduates. In such situations, internships become an opportunity of employment. 

"Internships that last for 3 months or more also give more time for companies to observe the work carried out by the intern and assess their quality. If the company and the intern gel well together, they are immediately absorbed," he says. 

A recent report released by Twenty19, a Chennai-based internship centric organisation, states that 70% of interns in 2014 were hired by start-ups and small companies. The top sectors that hired interns were IT, internet companies, computer hardware and software, media, marketing, advertising, retail and NGOs. 

The study which looked at internship trends in India over the past year said that as many as 68% of college students who interned in companies were offered a job prospect by the end of their internships. 

It found that there was a 150% increase in the requirement of interns in 2014. Also, the number of applications for internships received by companies doubled in 2014 with a majority applying for paid internships. 

"Interns are the new freshers and internships are the most sought after early-stage recruitment method for companies," said a representative of Twenty19. It is also lucrative for companies to absorb interns as they are recruiting from an already existing trained talent pool. 

Among the students who applied for internships, a majority of them (78%) were undergraduate students followed by 20% of post-graduate students and diploma students (2%). A look at the UG students who applied for internships showed that most of them were from engineering colleges (69%), arts and science colleges (22%) followed by business schools and colleges (9%). 

Founder and CEO of Twenty19, Karthikeyan Vijaykumar says that colleges have become much more flexible in allowing students to take up internships to encourage practical exposure and therefore internships are undertaken through the year and is not seasonal anymore. 

According to the report, internship roles most required by companies during 2014 were those of software, web design and development, graphic design, mobile app and product development in the technical positions. 

In the non-technical positions, interns were hired for content writing, journalism, marketing (strategy and social media), sales and business development, market research and analytics and HR/recruitment.