Nicaragua: First round of internships for third year students

In October for the first time, the third year students from La Bastilla Technical School left the school for a fortnight and immersed themselves in internships in different locations. Most of the boys went to different agricultural and coffee farms, while the only two girls went to a Restaurant (as one of them is the hotel monitor) and the other one to a Dairy Plant, as she has been specializing in this field.

This trial internship experience has been very rewarding for the students and went beyond the school’s expectations. Although it wasn’t an easy task, as it required planning, organisation and communication, the end the results and lessons learned were remarkable and enriching.

As part of their evaluation, the students had to write a report and give a presentation about their placement to the rest of the school. From their reports, it was clear to see that not only did the students enjoy the experience, but it also made them realise how their knowledge from the field and the “learning by doing” model has improved their practical skills.

As Josué Montalvan, one of the students, said “After this internship I think I’ve improved my knowledge in the field, as I’ve learnt about different ways of working. Although it was tough, I’m really glad I had the chance to do it as it will help me in my future. I believe that these placements have provided us with a solid base for entering the job-market as they taught us how to get on with new people and, at the same time, allowed us to see and feel what life in the working-world is like”. Karen, who learnt about different cheese procedures, packaging and labelling agrees with Josué and adds, “It was an excellent experience, as we shared and learned from other people and at the same time, we were able to show our skills and knowledge in the area”.

As they all agree, they hope that these internships will continue in the future, as there may also be an opportunity to secure a job in the same workplace.  Two-thirds of the third-year students performed so well during the placements that they were offered jobs upon graduating, and one of them has already started working at her new job on the weekends.  Given that youth unemployment in Nicaragua is relatively high, this is a great achievement for the students and is compelling evidence of how the ‘learning by doing’ educational experience can improve young people’s chances of securing long-term employment.

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