THE SUMMER holidays are over, marking the end of a three-month internship for 39 university students with local electricity supplier CLP. The internship programme, launched in 1998, offers university students an opportunity to get a taste of what real work is like. During the internship, students are required to complete a project in areas such as engineering, finance/accounting and information technology, under the guidance of a mentor from the company. Percy So, 27, a second-year Master of Business Administration student from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, was an intern at CLP Power Asia. 'Unlike other summer jobs, there was actually a target for us to accomplish within our three-month internship,' she said. 'We were not just temporary workers who were there to fill a position while the permanent staff were on holiday.' Stephanie Suen, 20, a year three engineering student from the University of Cambridge, thinks another advantage of the programme is that it allows participants to follow their projects from the beginning to the end. 'During a one-month internship I did with another company, I could only take part in a portion of the project before I had to leave,' she said. CLP also offered a one-year internship programme for 12 students. Michael Tsai Chun-yu, 24, a year three BBA (Information Systems Management) student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has just finished a one-year internship at the company's strategic project department. 'Now I know more about the technical terms in treasury,' he said. 'I also learned that there are actually differences between reality and theory. Now, I can take these experiences back to university and discuss them with the professor.' Besides the work, he enjoyed the after-hours activities offered by the company. He took part in dragon boat and pedal-car racing. CLP senior specialist Shirley Yang said she appreciated the quality and attitude of the participants. 'In general, they are all very good. Besides academically outstanding, they also have good working attitude and very active to learn,' Ms Yang said. The company's human resources director, Tammy Wong, said applicants had become more interested in the programme in the past few years. 'Maybe because the economy is not good globally, students hope to get more job experience in summer to help them find a job when they graduate,' she said.