Internships and apprenticeships – what’s the difference? If you want to take someone on to help you grow your business, which do you choose?
First of all, it’s important to remember than neither of them are all about you. Internships and apprenticeships both two-way streets. You get valuable support, they get valuable insight and experience into the world of work, often for the first time.
This makes the whole thing more important, in many ways, than simply employing someone. You’re investing in the future of a worker too, and the nation, whether or not that future means they stay with you in the long term or leave to work somewhere else.
Thinking along the same vein, an intern or apprentice isn’t someone you just use to mop up all the rubbish tasks you don’t want to do, can’t do or can’t be bothered to do. It’s partly about work, but both roles also come with a level of corporate social responsibility.
Bearing that in mind, which is the best choice for your small business? There are, in fact, quite a few differences between the two as regards what you pay, the length of time they work with you and the qualifications they gain. Here’s some insight.
Apprenticeships versus internships
What is an apprentice?
* Apprenticeships tend to be longer, years rather than weeks or months
* They’re used to be exclusively for blue collar roles, but now we’re seeing more apprenticeships in professional services
* They’re more about formal training and the training is government-led
* At the end of an apprenticeship you usually have a qualification, for example an NVQ, GNVQ or Foundation Degree
* Apprentices aged 19 or over (and those under 19 in their first year of training) get paid properly, even if it is only the minimum wage
* You get the chance to learn on the job
* It’s a route to a real career and plenty of apprentices stay with the company they were apprenticed to once their training is complete
What is an intern?
* Internships are short, sometimes only a few weeks
* They are usually for white collar roles
* There’s no formal qualification at the end – it’s more like work experience than training
* Sometimes there’s a chance you’ll be offered a job at the end but there’s no guarantee
* Some internships are treated like a trial period – if you do a good enough job you might be asked to stay
* They’re perfect if you’re not sure which career path to take, giving you the opportunity to test-drive different careers and roles and beef up your CV
* They’re not as formal as apprenticeships and the government has no influence or involvement
* You don’t usually get paid but some businesses offer a basic wage to cover travel and food. But if you’re in the medical or legal sector, internships often pay
* They can work as placements, as part of a university qualification
* You might end up doing things that are not relevant to the job
Now you know the differences, you’ll be able to go forth and find the right kind of support, to the right kind of person. Good luck!