THE CLP GROUP of companies has been offering internships to PolyU Preferred Graduates since 1998, and intends to continue giving students opportunities to gain on-the-job experience. Shirley Yang, a senior human resources specialist with the CLP group, said the company would look for ways to expand the programme to include the group's regional operations. CLP offers more than 50 internships a year to students from Hong Kong universities, including those in the PolyU Preferred Graduate Development Programme. Ms Yang said the company aimed to give interns projects and challenges that provided an authentic work experience. A suitable work programme would offer maximum learning and experience benefits. During their internships, students are assigned a mentor and given a project related to their interest and disciplines, with clearly defined deliverables. 'Wherever possible we try to align an intern's curriculum with our relevant employment needs,' Ms Yang said. 'We consider the internship programme a talent development and long-term career planning opportunity.' The programme is also a way of evaluating students for future employment needs. Ms Yang said CLP's participation in the programme arose out of the company's ethic of good corporate citizenship and its desire to help create a corporate talent pool that would meet Hong Kong's future employment needs. The company viewed its long-term partnership with PolyU and other students as a win-win situation. Interns gained practical experience, universities gained insights into business needs, and CLP benefited from innovative ideas introduced by interns and their professors, while building up a pool of talent for future needs. It can take a couple of weeks for interns to adapt to various working environments, so it is important that they are made to feel welcome and confident they can make a contribution to the business. To achieve this, the HR team works closely with other departments to develop suitable programmes and provide support mechanisms.