PIP - Palestinian Internship Program
Palestine is a fertile ground for healthy entrepreneurial activity yet has an urgent need for new job opportunities, access to global markets and developing the talent of its human capital. A program that works to improve these indicators can play a crucial role fostering an entrepreneurial community and replicating the successes achieved by its neighbors.
In order to achieve this goal, JEST is working closely with Palestinian Internship Program to boost the Palestinian high-tech sector by addressing its dearth of work experience opportunities for young Palestinian graduates. Through running high-level three-month internships at multinational and start-up companies in Israel, the program will provides tech-oriented and entrepreneurial Palestinians with a route to stay in the field and amass invaluable experience that can then be contributed to the Palestinian tech ecosystem. PIP’s internships are further supplemented with professional mentoring, workshops and lectures, as well as provision of strong support to its growing alumni community. One of PIP’s goals is to provide its interns with international exposure, particularly to the US high-tech scene.
In the past cycles PIP has yielded extremely positive results from the 24 interns who have successfully graduated two internship cycles since 2014. They have reported remarkable advances in their career paths, especially through their exposure to new technical know-how and professional, dynamic working environments. The interns have also built up mutually beneficial professional relationships with international and Israeli firms and had the opportunity to work in English-speaking environments. Perhaps most notably, approximately 50 percent of “host companies” have asked to employ their interns following the three-month period.
JEST believes that such internships will lead to more and more Palestinian entrepreneurs and help to reduce the high unemployment rate. As such, JEST will be working closely with PIP by dedicating part of its employees’ time to work on the internship program, as well as following up with PIP on each and every step.
How the internship cycles are organized
PIP’s three-month internships take place in ‘cycles’ twice a year: one in Q1/2 and one in Q3/4. Preparation for a cycle beings at the beginning of the previous quarter (i.e. preparation for the Q1/2 2017 cycle will begin at the beginning of Q3 2016). PIP’s operations before, during and after an internship cycle are carried out in the following phases:
1. Recruitment of host companies
2. Recruitment of internship applicants
3. Selection of ‘finalists’
4. Candidate-host company ‘matching’
5. Logistical arrangements
6. The internship
For PIP’s 2017 cycles, we plan to recruit a part-time marketing and outreach officer who will be tasked specifically with improving access to potential internship candidates.
In addition to the aforementioned logistical, financial and consultative support PIP offers interns, PIP continues to actively the monitor the internship’s progress and offers support and advice both to interns and host companies once it is underway.
PIP supplements the value offered by the program by holding events and workshops for interns during the internship cycle. A cycle contains four such events, typically held at host companies or partner organizations:
Event 1 (evening): Interns’ ‘get-to-know you’ networking session.
Event 2 (full day): Workshop and company tour.
Event 3 (full day): Workshop and company tour.
Event 4 (evening): End of cycle ‘graduation’ event.
Opening event: At the beginning of each cycle, PIP runs a ‘get to know one another’ networking event for the interns. The aim is to facilitate networking and experience sharing among interns, and to begin to build ‘group spirit’ among them.
Workshops: PIP runs workshops for the interns during each cycle to give ‘added value’ to the PIP experience. Workshops typically have the follow features:
- Held at host companies, opening with a talk from a senior manager
- Workshops have been on topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship and venture capital investment
- Those who have delivered workshops have been Israeli or Palestinian business leaders, as well as academics from leading business schools in the US and UK
End of cycle event: At the end of each cycle, PIP organizes a ‘graduation’ event for interns. To this event, supporters of PIP are also invited. An example of such an event was one held by PIP in March 2017 at the end of its third internship cycle. At the gathering, graduating interns, PIP alumni, key figures from the Palestinian and Israeli high-tech scenes, and representatives of international organizations (such as USAID) met at Thomson Reuters’ R&D Center in Petach Tikva where one of the graduating PIP interns had been working.
Note, PIP provides interns with transportation to and from events that held outside of Jerusalem or the West Bank.
Graduated interns join PIP’s alumni network, which numbers 24 members as of July 2016. Alumni are offered mentoring and career advice by PIP following their internships. PIP also helps interns find employment in Palestinian companies by drawing on its wide network of contacts. Moreover, alumni are invited back to select PIP events to offer them further networking opportunities.
For their part, PIP alumni assist in outreach and referrals for prospective PIP internship candidates. PIP also pairs current interns with past interns, who are an invaluable source of advice and support.
- YOUNG PALESTINIAN “TECHIES”: The direct beneficiaries of PIP’s activities are its young Palestinian tech-minded interns, with results from our first two internship rounds showing that PIP’s package of work experience, mentoring, workshops, lectures, post-internship support and more, all dramatically improve participants’ career paths. Results – both in terms of intern recruitment and the experiential value of the program – will be further boosted with increased funding, particularly to pave the way for the planned PIP alumni field trip to the United States.
- ECONOMIC BOOST TO FAMILIES & COMMUNITIES: With over half of Palestinian graduates unemployed, the employment opportunities offered by PIP provide a timely economic boost to income of the families and locals communities of participants. The more resources PIP has to expand and enrich its program, the greater the impact in this area will be.
- PALESTINIAN HIGH-TECH SECTOR: Both investors and entrepreneurs have identified the lack of high-tech work experience among Palestinians as a major barrier to the development of Palestinian tech ecosystem. With PIP’s interns all committing to our vision of working in and developing the Palestinian tech sector, it will greatly benefit from the knowledge, experience and connections gathered by interns both during and after their internships.
- PALESTINIAN ECONOMY: PIP’s development of the Palestinian high-tech sector will have the broader knock-on effect of benefitting the Palestinian economy as a whole, creating private sector jobs, raising salary levels, and accelerating sustainable economic self-sufficiency.
- PALESTINIAN-INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING & COOPERATION: A key result of PIP’s internships is developing professional networks and cooperation between, on the one hand, our Palestinian interns and, on the other, their internationally-oriented “host” companies, guest speakers and mentors. The PIP alumni trip to the US, in particular, will further strengthen these results by bringing together members of the Palestinian and US tech communities.