Making Your Internships More like an Apprenticeship

Making Your Internships More like an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships and internships bear similarities, yet provide two opposite paths toward a career.

While most hires headed toward an HR role will come prepared with a college internship under their belt, structuring your internship program like an apprenticeship will provide more benefit to your company and the intern.

A 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employees reports that 55 percent of college graduates had the role of an intern at some point during their undergraduate studies. Of those polled, 51 percent were offered a job from their internship employer.

In fact, the most recent iteration of the survey shows job offer rates for interns were 67.1 percent, and the acceptance rate was 76.4 percent.

The NACE defines internships as a one-time work or service experience related to the student’s career trajectory, or their major. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and the student may or may not receive college course credits.

While an internship is a one time experience where career instruction is granted in exchange for the student’s work, an apprenticeship prepares apprentices for a career upon completion. Apprenticeship programs last over a span of years, not months, and when it’s over the person is a master of their trade.

Here’s how you can apply apprenticeship principles to your internship program:

Pay Dividends

Apprenticeships offer those enrolled a stipend during their training. To pay or not pay interns is up to each company to decide, but regardless of whether or not interns get paid, their experience needs to be worth the time and effort.

Regardless of whether or not interns get paid, their experience needs to be worth the time and effort.Click To Tweet

Interns can be a convenient solution to necessary, but cumbersome tasks, like data entry or making coffee, but providing an intern with a lasting experience offers more ROI for both the employer and student.

The last nine years of the NACE survey shows internships moving away from menial tasks like data entry or coffee fetching. On average, interns spent more than half of their time on project management and analytics/problem-solving tasks, while one-third spent their time on communications and logistics tasks. Only 10 percent of their time was spent on administrative/clerical work, with minimal time on non-essential tasks.

Instead of asking an intern for more coffee, evaluate their skill set and do your best to make their experience at your company one that is hands on.

Find a Mentor

Apprenticeships rely on learning via action with a reliable mentor who can work with the apprentice on the job site. When bringing on new interns, pair them with an employee who is prepared to offer their experience as a guide for how to best fulfill the intern’s role.

The team at Glassdoor points out that internships garner exposure to the workforce, differing from classroom instruction teaches. For apprentices, the on-site experience is the classroom, making the mentor and mentee relationship mandatory.

Learn what your intern wants to get out of their experience and match them up with the employee best suited to show them the ropes.

Learn what your intern wants to get out of their experience and match them up with the employee best suited to show them the ropes.Click To Tweet

Time Well Spent

A vital component of an apprenticeship is hours worked over a specified period. With the intern’s limited time in your office, have your team and new intern create a plan for how to best spend their time.

By the end of an apprenticeship, the apprentice is expected to be a master of their trade. Treat interns with the same end goal in mind. Train your intern to become an employee and cut back on onboarding and the learning curve once hired.

Train your intern to become an employee and cut back on onboarding and the learning curve once hired.Click To Tweet

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