Making Sense of Internships
An intern is someone who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than conventional employment making it similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide employers with cheap or free labour for (typically) low-level tasks, and also the prospect of interns returning to the company after completing their education and requiring little or no training. By some employers the Internship is seen as a good investment.
An internship may be either paid, unpaid or partially paid Paid internships are not common in the medical, architecture science, engineering, law, business (especially accounting and finance), technology and advertising fields. Internships in non-profit organization such as charities are always unpaid, volunteer positions. Internships may be part-time or full-time; typically they are part-time during the university year and full-time in the summer, and they typically last 6–12 weeks, but can be shorter or longer. The act of job shadowing may also constitute interning.
Internship positions are available from businesses, government departments, non-profit groups and organizations. Due to strict labour laws, European internships are mostly unpaid, although they are still popular among non-Europeans in order to gain international exposure on one’s CV and for foreign language improvement
Types of internships
Internships exist in various industries and settings. Here are two primary types of internships that exist.
1. Work experience internship: Most often this will be in the second or third year of the school period. The placement can be from 2 months to sometimes even one full school year. During this period the student is supposed to use the things he/she has learned in school and put it in practice. This way the student gets work experience in their field of study. The gained experience will be helpful to finish up the last year of the study.
2. Research internship (graduation) or dissertation internship: This is mostly done by students who are in their last year. With this kind of internship a student does research for a particular company. The company can have something that they feel like they need to improve, or the student can choose a topic within the company themselves. The results of the research study will be put in a report and often will have to be presented.
Additionally it is more and more common for post graduate students to take an Internship opportunity as the first step on their future career.
Paying for an internship
Some companies will find and place students in internships for a fee; such internships are mostly unpaid. n some cases companies charge to assist with a search, promising to refund their fees if no internship is found. What is included in such paid programs varies by company. Overall, the advantages are that they provide internship placements at reputable companies, provide controlled housing in a new city, mentorship and support throughout the summer, networking, weekend activities in some programs, and sometimes academic credit.
Legislative requirements for internship will vary from country to country.
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