[Infographic] Internships vs Apprenticeships: What’s the Difference?

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You may have watched The Internship or The Apprentice, and had a rough idea of what interns and apprentices are and what they do. Still, some get these two terms mixed up. The common understanding is that both internships and apprenticeships provide on-the-job training, which is accurate. But this is where the similarity ends. 

In today’s article, we will review prominent characteristics that distinguish internships and apprentices and the “-ship” that is most suitable for you.  

Internships vs Apprenticeships: What’s the Difference?

What is an apprenticeship?  

In the past, the term internship was used to describe doctors who had completed their degree but lack a license. Today, it is used as a blanket term to describe last-year university (or college) students who want to venture into the corporate world

Similar to internships, apprenticeships are available in all shapes and sizes, in a wide range of industries and organisations. The five most popular types of apprenticeship are: 

  • Business, Administration and Law 
  • Health, Public Services and Care 
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise 
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies 
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment 

Apprentices are treated equally as any other employee as these are paid positions. They are paid to participate in on-the-job training in addition to classroom learning. 

Apprenticeships are a great way to supercharge your professional development. Individuals pursue apprenticeships typically already decided on a career path and are looking for opportunities to gain more in-depth experience in their chosen field. 

Infographic: 6 benefits of internships

Apprenticeships versus Internships 

The main differences between internships and apprenticeships can be briefly explained using the infographic below. 

4 differences between internships and apprenticeships

Paid vs Unpaid 

A definite advantage of apprenticeships is all apprentices get paid. The salary might not be much when first started, but it will gradually increase as they acquire new skills. Thus, apprenticeships are highly competitive. 

Apprentices are highly competent as they need to develop both technical and academic skills to fulfil their responsibilities. After completing the programs, apprentices are certified professionals in their field of work. 

On the other hand, internships are often unpaid. Many companies compensate interns with other valuable perks, such as health care packages, team entertainment funds, conferences/ workshops/ networking events, etc. Though unpaid internships are normal, a handful of companies do offer paid programs. 

Students generally undertake internships to test drive a specific position or industry. They might not commit to the same type of work after the program is over.  

Length of time 

Depends on the function, an apprenticeship can last for years and requires a full-time commitment. Internships typically finish within a year, and 3-month programs are what the majority of companies offer. 

Students often look for internships during the summertime, or do it for one semester and then move on to the next internship opportunities or look for a full-time job. 

Read more: Applying for a summer internship abroad – Why not?

Hands-on training 

Apprentices are given more responsibilities as these are paid positions and are contractually bound. They are exposed to a variety of projects, which then allow them to gain more new knowledge and skills. 

Though internships also expose students to a new environment, the duties interns have to bear often are not as complex. Nevertheless, internships can amplify one’s resume and the knowledge and skills gained during the internship are not taught in any classroom. 

Job guaranteed 

Generally, interns are third-year or senior students who take advantage of their time off to quickly rake up some experience. In some cases, interns can be rotated to a full-time position after completing the program. However, this is not always the case. 

Read more: 5 tips to write a great cover letter for Marketing internships

Apprenticeships are the complete opposite. Since the employers are sponsoring the training, apprentices are almost guaranteed to have a job that pays well after finishing. 

Even when apprentices are not continuing with the previous employers, they are already “certified”, which makes them stand out than those without apprenticeships. 

Which one to choose? 

After clearly outlining the differences between internships and apprenticeships, which is the best option for you? The answer is: it depends. 

Both programs offer a wide array of knowledge, experience, and networks that can potentially benefit you in the long-term. 

If you are still in school but do not want to waste your free summer days, then internships are great opportunities for you to snatch your dream job. If you already have your mindset on a career path and want to get paid, then go for an apprenticeship. 

To learn more about what an intern does in a day, check out TRG’s resources made by our interns here

Are you interested in learning more about real-world internships? Why not experience it yourself? Our teams at TRG International need talented individuals like you. We offer different internship programs to help you fast-track your professional development. Explore what TRG has in store for you today!

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