Covid Interns is an initiative set up by Paddy Ryder and Rob Muldowney, both Global Business students at Trinity College Dublin and founding board members with the Irish Graduates Network.
Having noted the immense disruption faced by Irish SMEs due to the coronavirus and the cancellation of numerous internship programmes, Paddy and Rob kicked-off the not for profit Covid Interns. The aim is to connect small Irish businesses facing the commercial challenges of Covid-19 with volunteer university students and graduates who can help.
When Paddy and Rob finished their exams in Mar, they decided to buy the domain and build out the website, with a helping hand from WordPress! Since then, they have been onboarding students and businesses and officially launched last Wednesday.
Over the last number of days, they noticed the strong rate of demand for the offering and have been receiving CVs from all across Ireland and even further afield from universities in the UK . Similarly, they have been pleased with the demand from Irish businesses. There are now several students placed in different companies and more SMEs in talks with further students, figuring out how to work together to solve their issues.
Although regular activity has been disrupted, firms are availing of the opportunity to deliver on non-core elements of their strategic plans that have been put on the long finger. The Covid Interns are keen to help businesses work on those longer-term strategic projects, as it also allows them to develop their skills as they seek employment down the line.
“Having begun placing our first batch of interns, we have put a particular emphasis on working with students that have technical skills that can work effectively, when working from home, meaning there is no on the job training. This has resulted in partnering tech-savvy students with digital marketing skills into Irish businesses as social distancing regulation has dried up traditional revenue streams and driven business from physical channels to online. Such disruption means that it is now imperative to have a robust e-commerce and social media presence, however, often these non-core activities have been under-utilised.” – Paddy Ryder
These young people have the skills, savvy, and drive to help businesses in currently crucial areas. A number of Covid Interns students are working on helping businesses pivot to the online space by building out social media channels and increasing online presence. Other students are working upon projects centred around improving search engine optimization, PR campaigns, videography and improving cash flow management.
“We hope, the prospect of taking on a skilled volunteer to complete these lurking tasks is attractive, both from potential results and cost perspectives albeit there is some time needed to train and work alongside the intern. With Covid Interns, a business can get access to new skills and do so for absolutely free. This relies on proactive and empathetic volunteers, who want to help small businesses weather the storm, lending their expertise – many of such have applied, and this is evidence of something truly touching.”- Paddy Ryder