Internships in companies by university students or recently graduates is, in most cases, their first contact with the labour market. Thanks to these periods in companies, students acquire certain business skills, while improving their professional and technical qualifications and, consequently, they increase their employability.
At the same time, the most important asset of any business and economy is its human capital. The provision of human resources with required training and specific skills for the development of the assigned tasks is crucial for innovation, productivity and the competitiveness of enterprises. In addition, ultimately, for their sustainability and progress.
For this reason, it is a priority to promote the efficiency of human capital through the reinforcement of relations between the university and the industry. In this sense, the successive educational reforms in Spain have included progressively a more practical part in training, adapting the contents to those ones required by the companies. Royal Decree 592/2014, of 11 July, which regulates the external academic practices of university students, settles the framework of Spanish legislation about this matter.
However, the recent monographic report of the Competitiveness Observatory of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain (1) reveals that only just a third of Spanish companies has collaborated with universities in their productive activity. It is a consequence of considerable bureaucracy involved in such practices and of the differences in the language used between the academic world and the business. Furthermore, there is an inevitable negative effect of the economic situation during the years of crisis over that relationship.
Thus, this fact evidences the existence of important opportunities for Spanish companies to improve their competitiveness through the strengthening of cooperation with universities.