I work as a software developer and I was recently given responsibility for training 5 interns. As part of their college course, they have to complete an internship for 8 months for course credit.
The problem is that they:
- Seem to be missing important and relevant skills
- Don't seem to have any motivation to learn.
Furthermore, the management is putting pressure on me to train these students and have them contribute significantly. The company is looking to bring in even more interns from the same college in a month without asking for my input.
How can I protect myself from this issue? During my meetings, I am asked about why the interns are not contributing any code. Do I just tell my boss that A is just not doing anything, B is not motivated at all, C is not even showing up? I don't want to trash these guys but at the same time, I don't want to be seen as the team lead who can't lead.
Example: For our website redesign, the work is very simple. It is all front-end UI work which is some of the easiest programming work you can get (my opinion, relatively speaking). There are no expectations for speedy or error-free code but the interns can't contribute anything.
I've given them clear detailed instructions in writing about what to do, where to look for sample code, how to ask for help etc. We had training sessions where I explained the basic concepts so they have a foundation to build on. During the sessions, I asked them multiple times if they had questions, if they understood things. We have ONE rule which is:
If you are unable to make progress for 4 hours, ask for help.
Despite all this, they spend entire days sitting at their desk doing nothing.
When they are leaving, they pop in my office and tell me they're leaving. At this time when I ask what they accomplished today, they mention they don't know what XYZ is and haven't done anything. Of course, XYZ happens to be the thing we covered in the training session, the thing they said they understand.
So far, only one of them has made real progress and is actually exceeding expectations. If this continues and my "team" grows without any input from me, it will just get worse because I won't be able to meet my deadlines.
I mentioned to my manager that there are issues with getting interns to do work but she didn't respond with anything constructive. When the issue first came up I told my manager that they don't know the basic tools we use like Git, agile development, etc.
I don't have management experience in a work setting (graduated 2 months ago) but I have successfully led 2 group research projects in university (unpaid, non-credit).
(Yes, I know unpaid internships are not cool. I would not take them, and I would actively dissuade a friend from taking one. BUT, there is a lot that I am not mentioning in the question details so just accept the situation as is. I am looking for solutions since this situation now affects me and my performance.)