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Apprenticeship vs Internship: What’s the Difference?

When searching for employment, you’ll likely come across several different contracts and roles – two important pathways that are popular with young people are apprenticeships and internships, but, what on earth are they? 
An apprenticeship is a form of education and on-the-job training, providing the participant with hands-on experience as well as the chance to achieve an industry-specific qualification. 
An internship can be described as a professional learning experience that provides candidates (usually graduates) the chance to get a closer look at their chosen industry or role. 
Learning more about apprenticeships and internships will allow you to make a more informed decision about which role might work best for your current wants and needs, so if you’re interested in finding out the main differences between the two, then simply read on to uncover the information that you need.


The main difference between apprenticeships and internships is the timeline that they follow. In most instances, an apprenticeship will last a minimum of 12-18 months, whereas an internship will likely span over the course of 8-12 weeks maximum. Apprenticeships offer access to a qualification, meaning that you need to have the time to both complete your studies and get hands-on work experience. Alternatively, internships offer a brief look into the working world, allowing you to enter into your chosen industry in order to see for yourself what that form of employment can offer. If you’re seeking a part-time role that allows you to move on in a few month’s time, then an internship will likely work best for you. If you want to get fully involved in your chosen industry and can see yourself thriving in a long-term career in the topic, it’s best to choose an apprenticeship.  


Another important difference between apprenticeships and internships is the salary or wage that you will be paid at the end of each month. Unfortunately, most internships offer no payment whatsoever – credits for schooling may be something that you benefit from, but it’s more common for companies to state that the experience on your resume is what they can provide in return for your hard work. Comparatively, apprenticeships do offer a wage, as you get paid whilst you are learning. Apprenticeship wages are less than a fully qualified employee can expect to receive, but with each term that passes your salary can rise thanks to your increasing knowledge and experience. 

Job Security

One important factor that you should take into consideration whilst comparing apprenticeships and internships is the potential job security you can expect at the end of your term. A large percentage of those who are successful in completing an apprenticeship are offered a contract or employment with the company they trained with, as they have benefited from (oftentimes) more than a year of on-the-job experience and role-related education. On the other hand, most internship students do not continue working within the brand that they trained with, as there is considerable competition between applicants and a few months of experience simply isn’t enough to warrant such an opportunity.
Interested in a trade apprenticeship? Learn more about a local plumbing apprenticeship program.