A closer look at job shadowing

You’ll never know until you try – that’s essentially the idea behind job shadowing, where students spend time in an organisation getting hands-on experience and gaining insight into a particular career path. Job shadowing can last anywhere from a day to a few weeks and has benefits not only for students but for companies too. 

“If you want to have a lasting influence upon the world, you must invest in people’s lives; and if you want to maximize that investment, then you must invest in those people while they are young.” – George Barna

Why job shadowing?

Providing on-the-job experience for students, job shadowing can be done as part of a high school initiative, take the form of vacation work, or be offered as part of a company’s CSI programme. It’s designed to give students a nuts and bolts look at a specific career, where they can see what goes on in an average day, meet professionals in their field of interest, ask questions, and get a real sense of what the job entails. 

For some students, a job shadow experience may provide confirmation of their chosen career path. For others, it may introduce them to new career opportunities and possibilities they hadn’t previously considered. 

“Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.” – Maria Montessori

The value for organisations

Job shadow programmes can be a powerful way for organisations to get involved in the communities in which they operate, and to be future focused in terms of nurturing and developing young talent in their industry. When implemented as part of a CSI initiative, companies may even opt to offer scholarships to promising students as well as future opportunities, like internships, which may lead to full-time employment – all of which can be life-changing, particularly for students from underprivileged backgrounds.

What about internships?

In the same vein as job shadowing, internships give university students and graduates the opportunity to work at a company for a set period of time. According to Investopedia, the benefits of an internship include showing interns “the relevance of their academic studies to the real world” and giving them a “competitive advantage over other job seekers since they can use the skills they acquired during the internship, such as professionalism and application of different leadership styles…” 

While internships are not guaranteed to lead to permanent employment, they often do. And in a competitive job market, the experience gained during an internship may help to give graduates an edge over other students when it comes to finding a full-time position. 

At Lithon, we believe in the value of investing in young talent in our community. Each year, we invite a number of students to do an internship at the company, where they interact daily with our team members, gain valuable work experience and get the opportunity to work on live projects.  It’s something that brings us all a great amount of joy and learning, and we’re looking forward to next year’s young minds.