Supporting Engineering Education through Internship Mentoring Program: Approaches, Perceptions and Challenges
University-industry linkage is considered as a strategy to equip university students, with theoretical and practical knowledge. The purpose of this research was to investigate the approaches, perceptions, and challenges of internship mentoring in Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University. The participants were mentors, students, and a director. Thus, 60 mentors, 80 students, and one academic program director were selected through availability and purposive sampling techniques. The research was designed through a case study, embedded mixed research design approach. The data were collected through questionnaire and interview and analyzed through descriptive statistics (mean), the Kruskal-Wallis H test, and thematic analysis. The data revealed that both mentors and students perceived internship mentoring helped to improve engineering students’ academic achievements and their psychology. However, different responses were observed between mentors and students. Most students did not perceive the internship mentoring program helped them improve their communication skills and their future careers. The data also proved that majority of mentors used a cloning model than the nurturing and friendship models. Finally, the data indicated that lack of company supervisor’s interest to involve students in the actual work, inadequate support from administrators, and inadequate guidance for mentoring are the major challenges that affect the implementation of internship mentoring in Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University.