GEDC-SEFI Global Virtual Internship Program
The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a sharp cut back of work-based learning experiences for students of higher education. Internships, industry sponsored- or partnered-projects, campus activities, and similar requirements suffered a loss. A recent employer survey by Institute of Student Employers has found a 70 % fall in such opportunities.
Engineering internships are among the graduation requirements for engineering degrees. The definition of engineering internships is generally given broadly as “professional experiences in professional environments outside the student’s place of study.”
The global platform for academic leaders of engineering, Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC), took the sudden global shortage of internships positions for the global engineering student body as a prompt to spring to action. Joining forces with long-time solution partner Petrus Communications, GEDC quickly formulated the “reciprocity principle” among the world’s academic institutions to provide internship opportunities. SEFI has risen to the occasion immediately responding to the invitation to join in the positive. The simple yet elegant solution accommodates member universities’ different rules, regulations, and traditions regarding their students’ internships, as well as employing interns (for course credit, paid or unpaid, etc.) The platform, reached through the link on www.gedcouncil.org, enables internship job descriptions to be entered by internships coordinators of participating member institutions, and viewed by students. It is asked that each institution offers (roughly) as many virtual internships as the number of students it needs to send out.
The silver lining to having to go virtual due to an outbreak is the tightening of our global ties, in this case, by providing more and more international experiences for engineering students.
GEDC-SEFI Virtual Internship Program is enlisted under the activities of International Federation of Engineering Education Societies’ (IFEES)/GEDC Covid-19 Call to Action http://www.ifees.net/ifees-gedc-covid-19-call-to-action/.
In global solidarity and collaboration,
Professor Sirin Tekinay
Dean, College of Engineering, American University of Sharjah
Chair, Global Engineering Deans Council
Member, Board of Directors, SEFI