Productivity

The Pros And Cons Of Internships And Apprentices

Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

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.

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