Having some practical experience in the portfolio of a freshly graduate student is a must for many hiring employers nowadays. Knowing that, many universities include various work-based learning practices into their programs, e.g. placements, apprenticeships or internships. Frederick University in Cyprus recognizes the importance of hands-on training and offers their maritime students a chance to try themselves both onshore and onboard doing Maritime Studies Internship. The internship is designed for soon-to-be graduates finalizing their 3d year at Frederick University, and is paid by a hosting company.
What are the objectives?
Like in any internship, the main objective of Maritime Studies Internship is to give students a taste of what the real work experience in maritime is. Students gain practical understanding of the procedures and sharpen the skills required in various functions of shipping companies, such as: crew management, liner shipping operations, shipping accounting, port agency, purchasing, logistics and warehouse distribution as well as time and voyage chartering. Learning the procedures in shipping management cannot be visualized or learned via theory, thus the internship can be an opportune environment to observe professionals in action.
Additionally, the internship helps students build and work on their soft skills such as patience, endurance, working under pressure and team work. It is also believed, that the internship offers students an opportunity to show their best so they have a valuable point in their resume upon the internship completion. There is also a chance to be hired by a hosting organization.
How does it work?
The internship takes place in summer and lasts 14 weeks. First, students are placed in a shipping company ashore for two weeks, and then onboard – for approximately 12 weeks.
During the two weeks ashore, students get acquainted with the complexities of managerial duties in the shipping company offices. This includes learning about business administration, financial analysis, exploring maritime regulations and other maritime related issues. During the 12-week onboard, interns dive headful into the procedures that cannot be visualized or learned through theory in business administration.
Each intern must produce evidence of his/her learning experience by completing the Training Record Book whilst onboard. The Training Record Book is generally a reflection paper with the detailed information on the daily activities interns carried out, and what learning gains each task brought to them. The Book is reviewed and signed by the Master, or a designated Training Officer who acts as an onboard supervisor.
Prior the start of the internship, top performing companies of the maritime industry offer internship positions by applying through the career office at Frederick University (all the main Ship Management and Ship Owning companies, like Interorient, Columbia, Bernhard Schulte, Marlow, V Ships Internship, etc.).
What are the gains?
The gains of the Maritime Studies Internship are threefold. First, aspiring students get the chance to be exposed to real projects and master their skills. There is a strong increase in the awareness of business-oriented way of thinking that brings an added value to students’ career paths. Additionally, the fact that there is a proven track record of nearly complete employment provides some young managers with a good kick-start on their way to very promising careers in international trade in shipping companies. Second, for the shipping companies, the internship is a way to spot and hire talented students who have proved themselves reliable and competent to take over a full-time contract. And third, Frederick University maintains and expands the partnership base with the maritime industry what allows it to upgrade its Maritime Studies program according to the requirements of the potential employers of their students.
This article is based on a case study originally written by Novatex Solutions Ltd, developed as a part of the WEXHE Project.
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