Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interning seen as bridge to work

Interning seen as bridge to work

Interning seen as bridge to work


The practical importance of professional internships is being increasingly recognised by more Cambodian undergraduates – many of whom lack the relevant real-life work experience

As the number of students graduating from university every year continues increasing rapidly, opportunities for fresh graduates seeking employment become slim and exceedingly competitive, often requiring candidates with experience of a high calibre.

“They will ask about our experience once we apply for a job,” said audiovisual technician Lach Vannak, 24, who is now working at the Open Institute.

Vannak recalls his experience of doing two internships during his time as a student and how that has helped him to work at a professional level now.

“It does allow me to apply from what I learn at school,” said Vannak, explaining the advantages of internships that have provided him with many practical skills while he was studying. “Sometimes, we can learn in an internship what we miss in school,” he said.

Saray Samadee, 22, a media studies student, is doing her internship as a communication assistant at ActionAid, a non-profit organisation working to end poverty. She says, “Just knowing what you have learnt is not enough, you have to practice and apply it.”

As a senior year student, Saray Samadee is fully occupied with the demands of her schoolwork and classes. However, she still accepts internships that she is offered, as she is aware it will strengthen her resume while increasing her options and chances when applying for a job in the future.

“My internship will last for five months, and I am so satisfied with what I have been doing and learning at the organisation. “I am standing on the right way and getting ready for the job,” Saray Samadee said.

Even though her position’s tasks are relevant to her major at school, Saray Samadee admitted that throughout the first month of her work she has encountered many obstacles – many of which are tasks or problems that she never came across in her lessons.

“At times, real work is different from what we learn at school,” she said. But those difficulties are no longer her concerns.

Some educational institutions seem to ignore internship opportunities for their students, but Tieng Sopheak Vichea, head of the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, says it is part of the school’s strategy in making the university a highly prestigious and qualified education provider.

“Internships are compulsory for the students during their academic year.”

“Students in the department are strongly encouraged and technically supported to find internships and any training courses,” he said.

Moreover, he aims to make students in his department equipped and fully functional for the future workforce.

The department ensures students receive equal grounding in theoretical and practical works. Students are required to do internships at least twice during the course of their studies.

Internships are uncommon to some Cambodian students – many puzzled by what it involves or requires of them.

Some admitted that they do not know what internships are and the methods or measures of obtaining one.

“I have sent applications responding to many job announcements upon graduating in the middle of this year, but received no reply,” said undergraduate Sros Savoeun, 26, who has never done an internship.

Job opportunities are inaccessible and tough to find, partly because most jobs require suitably trained applicants with experience.

According to the Department of Higher Education, there are more than 130,000 students, studying at Cambodian universities this year alone.
But only a few of them have done any formal training or internships to get professional work experience before their graduation.

This leaves behind many inexperienced students who have to surmount huge barriers when they are looking for jobs in the future – inadequate experience becomes a hindrance usually resulting in them not being able to secure a job in a field they had studied or trained for.

Tieng Sopheak Vichea is also concerned about the state of internship providers, “Most of these internships are provided by non-governmental organisations rather than government institutions, which are not responding to the number of students.

A survey by the Youth Star, an international youth organisation, reveals that only one out of every nine students can find a job after they graduate.
Therefore, seeking internships or jobs in relevant fields is seen to be problematic for fresh graduates without professional experience, amid the recession and a saturated job market.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and