A letter in today’s SCMP struck a chord. It’s from a chap called Clive Chan in Kowloon Tong, and I’d like to buy him a beer. Here’s an extract. The emphases are mine.

I refer to Alex Hung’s letter (“Internship scheme must not be used to exploit graduates”, March 24).

While appreciating his concern for our young graduates, I do not agree with his view. I think it is time for our young graduates to learn the harsh reality of life. During the years leading up to the financial meltdown our young graduates benefited from a booming economy and it was not uncommon for them to jump ship a couple of months after landing their first job simply for a few hundred dollars more in salary or because of a stern reproof from their superiors. In a thriving economy employers often waste a lot of resources in training young graduates who show no gratitude for the opportunities they have been given.

Instead of repaying their employers with hard work and loyalty these young people are often conceited and critical of their bosses. The prevalent child-centred family culture does not help to produce disciplined and responsible graduates. They often lack punctuality, initiative and neatness. Employers, particularly those of small and medium-sized enterprises, will be hesitant to join the internship scheme unless they know for sure the graduates will stay in the job after the initial training period and produce tangible profits for them.

Having been bitten thusly, I couldn’t agree more.

2 thoughts on “In-grad-itude

  1. Yes. It’s so true.

    We’ve generally had a good group of interns at my office, but there have been a few who were less than ideal. There were those who simply wouldn’t show up on their scheduled dates, those who would turn in their work late, and those who would prefer to surf Facebook rather than doing whatever we had assigned them, but they were in the minority. That said, we did have one intern, a graduate of a prestigious English university, who plagiarized on multiple occasions and generally gave us substandard work (when they would do the work at all). Midway through their term, they quit.

    Since then, we’ve tried to increase training for our interns, giving them explanations of what is expected of them and what we consider to be good practice. Some have said that it’s been useful, but others have not been so receptive. Still, I wonder what it is the average intern expects to get out of the internship aside from a line to put on their CV.

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