n Journal of Public Administration - Interns' satisfaction with internship experience in a government department

Volume 54 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


The role of the higher education sector in fostering economic development has been understated or even not acknowledged by many. In the past, these institutions were regarded as elitist institutions of privilege, disconnected from societal needs and economic endeavours that are aimed at economic development. Internships are one type of role played by these institutions in improving not only the economy of a country, but also that of local communities making a strong argument that these institutions do not necessarily exist as 'closed' elitist entities. While a detailed discussion on the role of higher education in Local Economic Development is beyond the scope of this article, internships represent a valuable component in terms of engaging, educating and up-lifting the communities. An internship provides interns with an opportunity to close a gap between theory and practical reality. The culmination of these efforts is seen as not only benefiting the interns and their host organisations, but also the local economy. While this article features discussions on interns' satisfaction with their jobs at a government department, the research results are relevant for Local Economic Development. For their part, interns have contributed to local economic needs through projects carried out for local business communities as well as government departments within their local communities. Such involvement has proven many times that they too are able to assist in addressing local economic needs. Therefore, this article assesses internship experience and how factors such as supervisory support, stress levels and emotions may influence interns' satisfaction with their job. A total of 217 individuals in the age category of 18-34 (falling under the definition of youth) responded to the research questionnaire. Hypothesised relationships between variables were tested using Smart PLS 3 software – a PLS-based structural equation modelling (SEM) technique. To obtain descriptive statistics, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 was used. All the hypothesised relationships significantly indicated a support for all of them. The takeaway and one of the striking findings is how the respondents reported that they needed more supervisory support (M = 5.00, β = 0.205, p < 0.05). Implications for host organisations are also provided.

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