Finding the right jobs for your trainee
Trainees or intern as they are called are part of the responsibilities an art director has. I’m not talking about the bad habit of using trainees as regular workers, sometimes referred to as “precarity” or “underclass”, but about the trainees coming from schools doing a few weeks of internship to learn about the real work in an agency.
I had in the past problems finding the right jobs for the trainees as I was caught up in my daily routine and when they actually showed up at my desk I wondered what would fit. I therefore setup a routine for finding jobs around the year to have them ready. Find out how I did it and the 3 rules for successfully managing a graphic design trainee.
The simple job blackboard
During the year you come around quite a few low priority jobs which are easy to do and you postpone them because they are boring, time consuming and other jobs are more important. Instead of keeping them on your todo list make a separate todo list for your trainee. If you have co-workers make this trainee-todo list public, so they can add their jobs too.
The good side of this is, that they actually do real jobs you would normally do so it does not feel like low quality work. It shows them that graphic design is not only shiny creative mayhem, but often a time consuming tedious repeating work. Last but not least the trainee contributes to a real project, so he feels actually part of the agency and when the project is finished the trainee can claim to have been part of it.
Three simple rules
It’s therefore good to avoid to rush to the trainee every 15 minutes with a new task and to not have them read the email all the time. Make a daily plan and introduce new tasks only on breaks.
Finally I just want to say a last thing about the extended benefit of having trainees. Finding graphic designers who fit well into your organization and the projects you work on is often difficult. Often you hire someone to find out later that he can not adapt or doesn’t have the right capabilities. Trainees, especially if you have the opportunity to have the same come in for a couple of years, can not only be judged but you can also train them to your needs, make them fit well in your organization and develop exactly the skills needed. This is a huge advantage and can boost the success of your projects. So invest into your trainees and you will be rewarded.