2 University of Applied Science Velika Gorica (CROATIA)
3 Geotehnical Faculty Zagreb (CROATIA)
4 Green Energy Cooperative (CROATIA)
5 Institute for Development and International Relations (CROATIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 8722-8730
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.2439
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Internship is an integral part of a professional course at higher education institutions, which is directed to the application of knowledge and skills in the business world (work-based learning). Internships contribute to a number of positive changes in the development of the economy and innovation and in strengthening the cooperation between universities and the economy. Recent scientific studies show that the internship experience is important for students to see the application of acquired knowledge in practice as well as for potential future employers who gain insight into knowledge and skills of students - future employees. The work in the conditions of the COVID 19 pandemic during the past two years has affected the development and the quality of internship.

This paper presents the results of the analysis of the attitudes, knowledge and experiences of students acquired through internship as well as the impressions of employers at the level of students' knowledge organized by the Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering of the University of Zagreb, Croatia. The research was conducted on four occasions in the time period 2017-2022 using the same survey method with a total of 121 students just before their entering the labour market and 130 employers who are partners of the Faculty for many years. Special analysis in the fourth analysed year was dedicated to the conduct of internship programs in the conditions of COVID 19 pandemic. In last years students were most satisfied with the adequacy of communication with them and mentors they had during professional practice, while they were least satisfied with the opportunities for independent work within student practice, the adequacy of student practice in relation to the program of study, and the role of geotechnical engineering faculty in organizing professional practice. Compared to the previous four academic years, the 2021/2022 academic year saw a significant increase in student satisfaction with the work and internship conditions, participation in teamwork, and mentors they had during the internship. Satisfaction with the role of the Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering in organizing the professional internship has also increased, as has satisfaction with the opportunity to work independently during the student internship, which is significantly lower than in previous years, and the quality of the organization of the professional internship by the employer. Satisfaction with all segments individually is significantly higher than in previous years and that satisfaction with the professional internship increases on average from year to year.

Employers were most satisfied with students' desire for further education and motivation to work, as well as students' work in a team, while they were least satisfied with practical knowledge and skills required for practice, theoretical knowledge and skills required for practice, and qualifications for professional practice.

The results of the analysis are quite similar to the results of the previous four academic years, but it is important to emphasize that in the academic year 2021/2022 satisfaction with all segments individually is significantly higher than in previous years, especially in relation to the academic year 2020/2021.

In accordance with the results of the analysis, the paper makes recommendations for improving the practice system.
Internship, higher education, employers, student, COVID 19 pandemic.