Internships: An Under-Utilized Maintenance Resource

by Joel A. Leonard, PulsePointe Technologies

Internships can be invaluable tools for maintenance to prepare for the next millennium. Below are just a few of the new contribution internships are providing many maintenance and engineering departments.

What can interns do for maintenance?

  • Help introduce new technology
  • Help elevate image from cost center to a profit center
  • Help maintenance do more with less resources
  • Help companies comply with regulatory requirements
  • Help implement ISO 9000 programs
  • Increase business profitability
  • Prepare facility for Y2k
  • Infuse new energy and enthusiasm into your department

How, you ask?

Interns can help-

  • implement CMMS programs
  • organize the maintenance department
  • document equipment history
  • organize spare parts inventory
  • implement bar-code system
  • perform product research matrixes for future capital purchases
  • identify new maintenance resources on the Internet
  • perform Internet research
  • recruit skilled maintenance personnel
  • provide documentation for maintenance training program
  • justify removal of unproductive equipment
  • conduct some of the Y2k audits and tests

How can you afford an intern?

Many interns will work for just college credit and work experience. College students know that their future is brighter if their resume has solid work credentials and business references. Many colleges provide 4 hours college credit in exchange for 160 work hours.

Who will work with them?

Many seasoned craftsman would like to perform a role in management. Before promoting a maintenance craftsman with no supervisory experience to Management provide them an opportunity to gain some leadership by allowing them to develop your internship program.

Tips on how to maximize maintenance intern program:

  • Don’t just focus on engineering students. Recruit English, History Majors and liberal arts majors. They are often overlooked resources. They are great at developing newsletters, research and elevating image of maintenance.
  • View them as business advisors not go-fers
  • Be flexible– an extra 12-20 hours/ per week can help
  • Give them projects on the Internet- where they work in their dorm room
  • Let them surprise you– they can come up with some creative solutions
  • To create a perpetual intern program- require each student to recruit and train their replacements
  • Develop good relationships with local college professors and Director of College internships.
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