What’s the difference between an internship and work experience?

An internship is normally associated with undergraduates who know what field they want to work in. They are taken on as an intern by an employer and work for them for a set period of time. An internship can be paid or unpaid.An internship is in essence work experience but work experience is a more general term which refers to gaining experience in the work place and will not necessarily be undertaken by someone who knows what field they wish to work in.Another key difference is the application process. An internship is an applied for work placement which will normally require you to be interviewed by the employer and you will be competing with other candidates for the placement. Employers who offer an internship opportunity are offering this to potential employees rather than just those who wish to gain some experience.An internship can provide a great opportunity to show what great potential you have and to secure yourself employment with that employer. It’s important to remember this as an internship is not a regular job that you will get by showing that you have a vast amount of experience – employers will be looking for candidates who show that they have the potential to be a great employee.Aside from the obvious benefit that if you show that you are a great investment, an employer may keep you on when your internship is over the other benefits of doing an internship are that you will be able to gain the edge over your competitors and you will have the opportunity to network, which is really valuable in any sector that you wish to work in.Intern payIf you undertake an internship which is under a year in length or is part of a HE or FE course, then you are not entitled to the national minimum wage.If you are not quite ready to be an internWork experience generally will always be valuable. However, it might be that you are not sure what sector you want to work in or which job role to want. Another way of gaining experience and skills in the workplace, perhaps if you are not ready for an internship is through a traineeship.

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