Opportunities and Difficulties in Conducting Internships in Higher Education from the Employers’ Perspective


  • Venera-Mihaela Cojocariu Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau, Romania
  • Cristina Cîrtiţă-Buzoianu Associate Professor, “Vasile Alecsandri” University of Bacău, Bacău, România
  • Gabriel Mareș Psychologist, “Vasile Alecsandri” University of Bacău, Bacău, România




education, professional competence, internship, employers, employability, labor market,


The university and the labor market are closely related, both in terms of formative function, but especially, nowadays, in terms of economic role. Academic curricula can no longer be conceived effectively and pragmatically, without consulting employers on the type and level of skills of graduate students and taking into consideration the current labor market demands. From this perspective, several aspects like organizing the internship, the content, the volume and the quality of the specialized practice are current issues on the agenda of the cooperation among institutions responsible for training future specialists. Our study aims to analyze the first results obtained at Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau within the 2018 FDI Project CECIM - Efficient Communication and Educational Counselling for Integration on the Labor Market. In July 2018, a round table was organized at the university, on the subject “New Partnerships – New Opportunities for students”; more than 40 employers participated at this event. The discussions were conducted by applying a guided interview to the employers. The current study focusses on the employers‟ view regarding the best opportunities and the pressing difficulties that may occur during the internships and that may affect the students‟ professional practice. The data analysis of the 26 employers‟ point of view may represent, for the university, a chance to reorganize and restructure its approach to students‟ professional practice in collaboration with economic agents. The results reveal the reality of the current relation between the university and employers concerning students‟ professional practice and new possibilities for further collaboration.

Author Biography

Venera-Mihaela Cojocariu, Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacau, Romania

The Pre- and In- service Teacher Training Departament,

Head of The Department of Professional Counselling


Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya. (2015). Employers‟ perceptions of the employability and skills of recent graduates in Catalonia. Retrieved from http://www.aqu.cat/

Ambepitiya, K. R. (2016). Employability of graduates of public and private management education institutes: A case study of two institutes in Sri Lanka. OUSL Journal, 11, 113 -133. doi:10.4038/ouslj.v11i0.7346

Băltescu, C. A. (2016). The assessment of internship programs. A viewpoint of the undergraduate tourism students from the Transilvania University of Braşov. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov, Series V: Economic Sciences, 9(58), 65-72.

Bilsland, C., Nagy, H., & Smith, P. (2014). Planning the journey to best practice in developing employability skills: Transnational university internships in Vietnam. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 15(2), 145-157.

Briggs, L., & Daly, R. (2012). Why internships and placements are a popular route to employment. The Independent, 2012, March 21. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/whyinternships-and-placements-are-a-popular-route-to-employment7579681.html

Council of the European Union. (2014). Council Recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships - Employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs. Retrieved from https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/l sa/141424.pdf

Dani, A. (2016). Employers‟ perspective of employability skills of graduates from a liberal arts oriented international branch campus in the GCC. Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference Proceedings 2016: SSHAPP2634. retrieved from http://www.qscience.com/doi/abs/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHAPP2634

Deardorff, D., de Vit, H., Heyl, J., & Adams, T. (Eds.). (2012). The SAGE handbook of international higher education. Thousand Oaks, USA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Deckenbrunnen, Ch. (2008). Employability: The employers’ perspective and its implications. Official Bologna Seminar. Retrieved from http://www.ehea.info/cid103341/bologna-seminar-on-employability.html

Einstein, M. (2015). Nothing for money and your work for free: Internships and the marketing of higher education, triple C (communication, capitalism & critique), Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 13(2), 471-485. doi:10.31269/triplec.v13i2.595

European Commission. (2010). Employers’ perception of graduate employability. Flash Eurobarometer 304. Analitical report, Survey. Washinghton, DC, USA: The Gallup Organization & The Directorate General for Education and Culture. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/flash/fl_304_en.pdf

European Commission. (2016). Communication from the Commisison to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions. A new skills agenda for Europe Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-381- EN-F1-1.PDF .

European Commission. (2018a). Recomandare a Consiliului privind Programul naţional de reformă al României pentru 2018 şi care include un aviz al Consiliului privind Programul de convergenţă al României pentru 2018 [Council Recommendation on Romania's National Reform Program for 2018 and including a Council Opinion on the Convergence Program of Romania for 2018]. Bruxelles, Belgium. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/RO/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0422&from=EN

European Commission. (2018b). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup, 2018 European Semester: Assessment of progress on structural reforms, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and results of in-depth reviews under Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011, Country Report: Romania 2018. Bruxelles, Belgium. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2018-europeansemester-country-report-romania-en.pdf

Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum (GPCF). (2011). Common best practice code for high-quality Internships. Retrieved from https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/common_best_practice_code_on _high_quality_internships_.pdf

Guile, D., & Lahiff, A. (2013) Internship: Conventional wisdom, models and recommendations. London, UK: Institute of Education, University of London, https://www.srhe.ac.uk/downloads/events/114_Internship.pdf, accessed 10 October 2018.

Helyer, R., & Lee, D. (2014). The role of work experience in the future employability of higher education graduates. Higher Education Quarterly, 68(3), 348-372. doi:10.1111/hequ.12055

Hergert, M. (2011). Student perceptions of the value of internships in business education. American Journal of Business Education, 2(8), 9-14. doi:10.19030/ajbe.v2i8.4594

Husain, M. Y., Mokhtar, S. B., Ahmad, A. A., & Mustapha, R. ( 2010). importance of employability skills from employers‟ perspective. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 7, 430–438. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.10.059

International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2013). Global employment trends for youth 2013 - A generation at risk. Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/docu ments/publication/wcms_212423.pdf

International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2017). Global employment trends for youth 2017: Paths to a better working future. Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/global-employmenttrends/WCMS_598669/lang--en/index.htm

Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers’ perceptions of the employability skills of new graduates. London, UK: Edge Foundation.

Macey, E. (2013). Employers‟ Views on Youth Literacy and Employability. London, UK: National Literacy Trust. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED560637.pdf

Mercan, Ş. O., Aksu, M., Yildirim, H. M., & Bucak, T. (2015). Perception of internship on students studying in the field of tourism at undergraduate level: A research at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University. International Journal of Social Science, 32, 319-333. doi:10.9761/JASSS2741

Morris, C. (2010). The Robbins Report. British Journal of Educational Studies, 13(1), 5- 15. doi: 10.1080/00071005.1964.9973120

O‟Leary, S. (2013). Collaborations in higher education with employers and their influence on graduate employability: An institutional project. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 5(1), 37–50. doi:10.11120/elss.2013.05010037

Pegg, A., Waldock, J., Hendy-Isaac, S., & Lawton, R. (2012). Pedagogy for employability. Heslington, UK: The Higher Educatin Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/pedagogy_for_employability_ update_2012.pdf

Rayner, G., & Papakonstantinou, T. (2015). Employer perspectives of the current and future value of STEM graduate skills and attributes: An Australian study. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 6(1), 100– 115. doi:10.21153/jtlge2015vol6no1art576

Romanian Parliament (2011). Law no. 1/2011 on national education. Monitorul Oficial al Romaniei, 18, 2011, January 10.

Scholz, R. W., Steiner, R., & Hansmann, R. (2004). Role of internship in higher education in environmental sciences. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(1), 24–46. doi:10.1002/tea.10123

Speight, S., Lackovic, N., & Cooker, L. (2012). Stakeholder attitudes towards employability in a Sino-British University. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 3(1), 26 – 40. doi:10.21153/jtlge2012vol3no1art556

Tran, T. T. (2016). Enhancing graduate employability and the need for university enterprise collaboration. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 7(1), 58-71. doi:10.21153/jtlge2016vol7no1art598

Unitatea Executivă pentru Finanţarea Învăţământului Superior, a Cercetării, Dezvoltării şi Inovării (UEFISCDI). (2016). Raport public anual – 2015. Starea finanţării învăţământului superior şi măsurile de optimizare ce se impun. Bucharest, Romania: UEFISCDI – CNFIS. Retrieved from http://www.cnfis.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ Raport_Public_CNFIS-2015.pdf

Unitatea Executivă pentru Finanţarea Învăţământului Superior, a Cercetării, Dezvoltării şi Inovării (UEFISCDI). (2015). Raport public anual – 2014. Starea finanţării învăţământului superior şi măsurile de optimizare ce se impun. Bucharest, Romania: UEFISCDI – CNFIS. Retrieved from https://www.edu.ro/sites/default/files/_fi%C8%99iere/studii%20si%20a nalize/2016/CNFIS/CNFIS-Raport-public 2014_final.pdf

Vairis, A., Loulakakis, K., & Petousis, M. (2014). The role of internships in a higher education institute. QScience Proceedings, 27 (World Congress on Engineering Education 2013). (pp. 1-8). Retrieved from http://www.qscience.com/doi/10.5339/qproc.2014.wcee2013.27

Vasile Alecsandri University in Bacău. (2018). Effective Communication and Educational Counseling for Integration on the Labor Market (CECIM). Project CNFIS-FDI2018-0223. Bacău, Romania.

Weligamage, S. S. (2009). Graduates employability skills: Evidence from literature review, enhancing employability through quality assurance. Retrieved from http://fac.ksu.edu.sa/sites/default/files/weliganmage_2009_graduates_em plyability_skills_evidence_from_literature_review.pdf

Wilton, N. (2012). What constitutes employability in the eyes of employers? Bristol, UK: Centre for Employment Studies Research (CESR), University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://www2.uwe.ac.uk/faculties/BBS/BUS/Research/CESR/July_2012 _Wilton.pdf

Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: What it is - What it is not. Heslington, UK: The Higher Educatin Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/employability-highereducation-what-it-what-it-not




How to Cite

Cojocariu, V.-M., Cîrtiţă-Buzoianu, C., & Mareș, G. (2019). Opportunities and Difficulties in Conducting Internships in Higher Education from the Employers’ Perspective. Postmodern Openings, 10(2), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.18662/po/69



Research Articles

Publish your work at the Scientific Publishing House LUMEN

It easy with us: publish now your work, novel, research, proceeding at Lumen Scientific Publishing House

Send your manuscript right now