Case Study I Achieving high quality, hands-on professional training for IT students

Achieving high quality, hands-on professional training for IT students

Presented by: ICT Association of Hungary

Industry: Information, Communication & Technology

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Size: <50 employees


  • Universities’ high drop-out rates among IT students
  • Attractivity of market entry job offers leading to discontinuity of studies
  • Universities’ lack of institutional knowledge on the latest/most sought after technologies
  • Companies’ senior employees have limited mentoring skills


The ICT Association of Hungary is part of the national project “Code your future!” (GINOP-3.1.1-VEKOP-15-2016-00001), supported by the European Social Funds. The association was tasked to conceptualise and design an internship programme (and service) for IT students, based on desk research findings and in-depth analysis of ICT companies’ needs and internship practices.

Internship programmes are not new, but the ICT Association of Hungary brought on the table innovative elements that facilitate the talent selection and hiring of interns for companies and ensure that students can receive high quality, hands-on professional training.

Instead of working with employment agencies, they turned to student career counselling centres (SCCC) who have direct means of communication with the potential interns and apply advantageous tax solutions for companies to hire them. The internships are paid by the project and covers about three months of internship at the selected companies which removes companies’ roadblocks and offers financial stability to the working students.

With this programme, a student can benefit from a maximum of 500 hours of internship at one or up to three companies. Companies can hire interns for 20h/week when classes are held, but this can go up to 40h/week during any other period — a model that protects the quality of the students’ learning experiences and increases its practical relevance.

The programme is run operationally by a SCCC, operating via public procurement. Internship positions are curated, students’ skills pre-assessed for optimal matchmaking, and positions filled. The programme also includes the “development of mentors’ competences”a 16-hour training for company mentors to build their capacity on relevant aspects like task delegation, internship programme building, monitoring and evaluation.


The internship programme strengthens cooperation between universities and ICT companies. It results in lower drop-out rates and immediately services the labour market with a capable workforce. Over two years, 230 ICT companies benefitted from it and 760 IT students found a paid internship opportunity.

Results from the second year of the programme show that out of the 260 students serviced this year, 150 of them have received longer-term, part-time offers from companies under favourable conditions which allow them to continue and finalise their studies.

Key benefits:

  • Real-world, hands-on experience for IT students that doesn’t jeopardise their university learning experience
  • Companies can easily hire interns at (almost) no cost
  • Better retention rates at universities
  • Replicable and adaptable to different Member States, using the European Social Funds or national funds

Key resources:

  • Mentors’ time and availability
  • Availability of funding