Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Awards Business Tools Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Productivity

The Pros And Cons Of Internships And Apprentices

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

The legalities of taking on interns and apprentices explained.

Two people looking at a computer screen

Should I Offer Internships?

The well-intentioned, structured, paid training experience of yesteryear is increasingly giving way to a fair share of unpaid labour. It surely raises a question: the idea that a hard day’s work demands a fair wage. As paid positions are advertised and filled, internships still exist, and can be stepping stones to full-time jobs as opportunities focus on education and training. That said, there is little doubt that structured, paid training experience is increasingly giving way to unpaid labour.

There are rules of course and ultimately there is a responsibility on government to ensure that the labour market remains a level playing field for all working individuals. The law says that unpaid work, with few exceptions, is illegal. Employers who are fair-minded understand workers engaged as interns are motivated to learn and gain experience. The young interns may not be the equivalent of an experienced professional, but the employer will also not be forced to pay competitive salary commensurate with the experienced person.

What are the Rules for Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships on the other hand are heavily regulated with prescribed conditions for both pay and employment conditions. They offer employers, again, the opportunity to create a loyal employee while at the same time receiving financial support through the various apprentice schemes that state and federal government provide.

Business benefits of internship programs
  1. Where an employer does not want to create a full-time position with its potential burden on the company ‘books’ – an intern is a solution
  2. Internships can offer a business or organisation enhanced reputation where they are acknowledged for giving opportunity to young, inexperienced people, giving them work experience while still studying
  3. Internships present employers with fertile ground for building employee loyalty; after all, even a lowly-paid sponsorship opportunity is often viewed very positively by a younger person – especially if they are given subsequent opportunity for fast-track professional development.

Dave Macdonald and Annette Kaitinis of Scoot Boot
Growth
Growth
Annette Kaitinis: growing a business means knowing when to trot, canter, and gallop

Annette Kaitinis and Dave Macdonald have taken their small business with a big idea from Tasmania to the world. After just four short years, they're reaching international mark...

Charmaine Saunders of Mainie in store holding a traditional Indigenous-inspired garment.
Growth
Growth
Culture meets commerce: These Indigenous businesses are embracing both

These four Indigenous businesses – NAISDA, Purple House, Bush Medijina, and Mainie – combine commerce and culture. Find out how business works for people by Telstra Smarter Bus...

A photo of a woman from behind working at an office desk
Business IQ
Business IQ
How to empower staff and protect data security

Your cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link and that weak link is often the human element. Cyber security is a human problem. That’s why it is critical to invest...

A large amount of multi-coloured post-it notes lying in a large pile on a white floor.
Productivity
Productivity
How to multi-task and do what matters

As a busy business owner, it’s tempting to try juggling all the balls at once in order to get things done. But using the right technologies and processes – not constantly multi...