Internships can be undertaken during or after college or university. They are usually temporary and may last anywhere between one and eighteen months. Unless you are interning with a charity, internships will be paid at minimum wage or above, whilst if they are unpaid you may be given help with expenses. Interns should note that if they are not being paid, their rights are very different. See the government’s outline of employment rights for interns for more information.


There is no concrete definition of what constitutes an internship. However, they differ from work experience in three ways:

Length: Internships tend to last months rather than weeks, with some lasting up to a year.

Time commitment: If paid, interns are expected to keep the same full-time hours as other members of staff

Work expectations: Internships are not training courses, and in most cases, interns will be expected to do real work that would otherwise require a paid member of staff


The Benefits:

Internships give young people a better general understanding of the world of work. They allow them to develop and hone the transferable skills necessary for every future job, such as organisation, communication and teamwork.

They will also gain insight into a certain sector, organisation and job role, far better than they would through work experience. This will allow them to assess whether the industry or position is really right for them in the long term.

The experience and understanding they will gain will make it far easier to look for jobs in the future. They will also be given a professional reference. Furthermore, some internships are like extended trial periods, with a possibility of a full-time position at the end. In some industries, such as the media, charity work, and fashion, internships  are the main route into employment. However, employment at the completion of an internship is never guaranteed.


Applying for an Internship:

Internships for university and college graduates are advertised on all the normal job sites. Students at university have the benefit of their university careers service,which may run its very own internship programme. Those at school or college may find it harder to find internship opportunities but check the Eluceo network to see if there are any available in your local area.

Internships are usually undertaken once a young person knows what career they want to go into. In this way, they should apply to internships in which they have a real interest or some prior experience. Applications for most internships are similar to those for full-time permanent jobs.


Return to Types of Work Experience