The benefits of an intern

They know exactly what young people want, are social media naturals, and can be surprisingly valuable for your company: interns. Interns can do all sorts of odd jobs, but they can also inject your company with state-of-the-art knowledge. What are the benefits of hiring interns and how do you find them? Frank Smits, co-owner of publisher LT Media, regularly hires interns and shares his experiences.

A fresh pairs of eyes

Smits wanted to know what an intern brings to your company and discovered: "Interns not only learn a lot themselves, they also bring a lot of innovation and fresh ideas. For example, they offer insight into the mindset of your younger target group and often know all about social media. That is how we are always developing a bit too." In fact, that brand-new mindset can usher in entirely new products (in Dutch) sparking a media frenzy. 

Talent on trial

“Internships are an easy way to discover young talent”, Smits continues. “One of our current employees started with us as an intern and was hired immediately afterwards. You could even see an internship as an extended trial of sorts.”

Helping hand

Onboarding an intern takes time, but can be immensely valuable. “You have to put time into supervising interns, but if done properly, you will more than recoup your investment. Once you get them up to speed, interns can be a great helping hand and they do not cost much. However, it only works if you take your interns seriously.”

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Finding staff in a tight labour market can be challenging. Still, experts and business owners believe there are plenty of opportunities, such as Open Hiring or recruiting foreign staff. 

Hiring interns

Convinced that an intern will benefit your company? Remember these key points when looking for and hiring interns.

Become a work placement company

Approved work placement companies have to meet the following requirements:

  • You have to offer interns a good and safe workplace. In this workplace, the intern must be able to practice tasks related to their degree programme.
  • You have to appoint a supervisor who is familiar with the requirements of the degree programme and has the time and resources to supervise the intern.
  • You must be willing to cooperate with the school and SBB and share all the necessary information.
  • You have to agree to your company details being listed on and These are the websites on which students look for an internship or apprenticeship.

Offering internships

SBB and ELBHO (in Dutch) are the organisations responsible for approving work experience companies, but they also help make sure that students enjoy their internships. ELHBO explains: “After approving a company, we help the company find interns and interns find the company. We mention companies at student events and talks at universities and schools, for instance, and have dedicated internship websites. SBB is responsible for the website for secondary vocational students (in Dutch) while we do the website for higher education (in Dutch). Companies looking for an intern can list their internship on one of our websites.”

Supervising an intern

SBB and ELBHO also provide guidance to interns and companies who have already found each other. For example, by providing assessment forms and tips on supervising interns (in Dutch) They also have various training courses (in Dutch) on offer and SBB even has its own internship coaching programme.

Applying for an internship grant

In many cases, approved companies can receive a subsidy for their interns. ELHBO explains: “If you need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us. Helping our member companies submit the necessary documents is part of what we do. Grants make interns even more of an attractive proposition.”