A unique internship opportunity was offered by the M4EG team in Armenia to senior year Bachelor students of the American University of Armenia (AUA) this summer.
During the months of July and August, when the first wave of M4EG Signatories were working on shaping up their Local Economic Development Plans (LEDPs), a special internship programme was announced for interested students, doing their BA in Business and Master of Science in Strategic Management. The opportunity provided the students with hands-on experience in local economic development management, at the same allowing the signatory communities to benefit from targeted support of young specialists in developing their LEDPs.
Five senior year students expressed interest to take part in the programme and went through an interviewing process by the M4EG team and the coordinator of Business and Economics internship program at AUA. An introductory 2-hour lecture was given to the selected students on the M4EG Concept and approaches, and access provided to all the methodological materials on the LEDP preparation.
The interns took part in missions to signatory communities they have been assigned to and participated in discussions with LED officers and community leadership. The intern team was meeting regularly with M4EG Armenia Country Team to provide update on the implementation of tasks and getting new assignments.
During the internship, each student worked on LED plans of 2-3 communities, assisted the country team in reviewing and commenting on the drafts, conducted data collection and analysis, helped LED officers to translate executive summaries and LED plans. Interns also conducted research on LED cases in Eastern Europe countries, which were relevant to the Armenian communities. Based on the research results they provided ideas on new activities for promoting local economic development in communities such as organization of local festivals and tourism promotion.
Both the beneficiary communities and the university administration welcomed the new collaboration format and positively assessed its benefits. Currently, further cooperation modes are being discussed and the integration of the M4EG materials into the university curriculum on Local Economic Development is considered.
Mery Yolyan, 4th year student: “The internship at Mayors for Economic Growth project gave me a real-life experience to have a deeper understanding of local economy, the role that local authorities can play in promoting of local economy. Team working process and mentoring by professionals was very productive and inspiring throughout the whole process, as well.”