What is an internship? Everything you need to know as a graduate

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Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to enter the world of work and build your set of professional skills from the ground up. You may have heard of an internship, and maybe you’re wondering if it’s the next best step.

So, what is an internship? In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and help you figure out if it’s the right choice for your career as a graduate.

What is an internship?

An internship is a short to medium-term period of work experience. They’re usually offered by employers or companies and are a way of gaining exposure to a professional environment or particular industry. In fact, it may be the start of your new career and if you’re lucky, you might even be offered a permanent position at your internship workplace!

Typically, an internship is completed over the course of a few months or up to a year. You can expect them to have a reliable start and end date.

Do you get paid for internships?

Unpaid internships are pretty common. However, you may find your employer will cover your travel and food expenses to make up for your lack of pay. Whether or not you will be paid during your internship will depend on your employment status. If you are classed as a ‘worker’ then it is the law to be paid national living wage. You can find out more about your employment rights as an intern here.

Although this isn’t usually financially viable in the long term, an internship allows you to build your experience before and after graduating. Hence, many students complete internships in the summer when they have little to no other commitments.

On graduate-jobs.com you’ll only find paid internships. Check out the latest internships here.

Is an internship right for me?

Now you know what an internship is, it’s time to decide whether it’s right for you. An internship is the right choice if you’re considering a “try-before-you-buy” approach to an industry. They’re typically aimed at students and graduates who are beginning to think about a new career.

During the internship, you’ll get a feel for what you like in the workplace, and equally, what you don’t like. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover something that you’re passionate about. Internships are designed for you to collect as much information as possible about working life. Not to mention you’ll gain a ton of confidence!

Additionally, an internship is a useful way to build your professional network, and you’ll do a bit of everything in a short space of time. It’s common to learn about the industry, work on projects, observe accomplished professionals and gain both “soft” and “hard” skills.

They’re a viable option if you’re juggling other commitments such as a part-time job, study or even another internship.

Apprenticeship VS Internship: What’s the difference?

Now you’ve gained enough knowledge about what an internship is, you may be wondering how an apprenticeship differs. Each one is valuable in its own way, so we’ve compared the two in order for you to decide which is the right choice.

   Apprenticeship  Internship
 Remuneration  Always paid  Not always paid
 Time frame  Longer - usually 1-4 years  Shorter - usually 1-3 months or up to 1 year
 Skills  Training  Learning
 Career progression  Often leads to full-time employment  Sometimes leads to employment
Instruction  Specific instruction/training plan to gain a certain skill Often no specific instruction 
 Schedule  Typically full-time with studies involved  Can be part time or full-time

Feeling a little more in-the-know about exactly what an internship is? If you’re thinking about doing an internship take a look at our current live opportunities here.