Hands-on experience is a necessary step for college graduates. New job seekers should actively participate in internship and apprenticeship programs to gain experience, increase marketability, and develop career goals.

These programs are not so different from student attachment programs. However, internships and apprenticeships have the potential to shape careers, create a professional network, and build a strong resume. 

When presented with both opportunities, some job seekers may struggle to choose between internship and apprenticeship programs. Both offer hands-on experience but have key differences.

The information below is a detailed examination of internships and apprenticeships to help business owners set up more helpful programs. It will also allow job seekers to determine which opportunities would be more beneficial in improving their career paths.


An apprenticeship program offers the best of both worlds by combining classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training. The full-time program prepares workers for careers by providing a skilled-based education.

Apprentices spend at least 20% of their working time learning in a classroom-based setting within a higher institution or as the organization provides.

The apprentices earn nationally-recognized credentials within their industries. Apprentices can use these credentials to improve their chances of getting high-paying jobs once they complete the program.

For employers, apprenticeship programs help prepare individuals for their future workforce. It is like a training program that prepares college students or graduates to join the company while paying them a wage that progresses with the program.

The length of an apprenticeship program varies according to the organization’s parameters. However, the programs often last 1 to 3 years. Rarely will they last beyond 4 years, with higher degree apprenticeships lasting the longest.

Worth Noting: An apprenticeship program differs from a learnership program because it focuses more on trade. In addition, learnerships are shorter, and the participants receive a ratio of 70% against 30% practical and theoretical components. It is more about learning practically. 

Which Organizations Offer Apprenticeship Programs?

In most countries, candidates can get chances at apprenticeships from organizations ins industries such as:

●  Construction– plumbers, masons, carpenters, roofers, and painters.

●  Healthcare– dental assistants, midwives, and nurse aides.

●  Manufacturing– mechanics, technicians, fabricators, and machine operators.

●  Hospitality– cooks, waiters/waitresses, and restaurant managers.

●  Energy– electricians, maintenance persons, line erectors, and operators.

●  Telecommunications and IT– network administrators, web developers/designers, wireless and fiber optic technicians, and salespeople.

●  Financial services– bank tellers, customer service representatives, and financial assistants.

●  Transportation– truck drivers, mechanics, and distribution managers.

Who Can Be An Apprentice?

In regions like the US and UK, apprentices must be at least 16 years old to participate in internship programs. Some programs have a maximum age limit of 24 to 25 years.

Residency in the area is a requirement, and the candidate must not be in full-time education. Additionally, some apprenticeships require certain education levels, such as three 9-4 grade GCSEs or equivalents.

Furthermore, higher apprenticeships such as degree programs will require prior work experience on top of at least five 9-4 GCSE grades.

A candidate must be at least 15 years old to join an apprenticeship program in Kenya. In addition, the apprentice must complete the required period of compulsory education, attain qualifications prescribed under the scheme, and be certified fit per Section 10 of The Industrial Training Act.

Skills Needed For An Apprenticeship

Employers offering apprenticeship programs often look for candidates with basic skills and qualities such as:

●  Enthusiasm

●  Good communication skills

●  A good work ethic

●  Proper command of written language, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation

●  Interpersonal skills

●  Teamwork capabilities

●  Willingness to learn

●  Problem-solving skills

●  Resilience


An internship program is a learning experience where candidates participate in meaningful, practical work within their specialized industry. In an internship setting, the participant does not involve themselves in classroom learning and instead gains skills from working.

Internships have the benefit of valuable applied experience, building an admirable resume, and networking with others in the professional field.

For employers, internship programs help to evaluate talent for permanent positions within the company. Some employers also use the opportunity to guide new talent into industry norms. The agency offers structured and supervised professional experience.

At the end of the course, interns do not receive a certificate or credentials. Instead, the agency and, sometimes, academic personnel evaluate the internship program’s success. The candidate’s higher learning institution sends personnel to evaluate them per predetermined goals and requirements. 

An internship can be paid or unpaid, depending on the organization. However, some countries deem unpaid internships illegal unless the intern is the primary beneficiary of the arrangement.

But, some African countries like Kenya do not have any legislation on paying interns. Public service organizations and governments often offer paid internships as a rule. But other organizations may avoid wages for interns.

Internships are part-time, but time commitment can vary depending on the employer’s needs. Some work from home, others in the office until a certain time. Some interns also work as hybrid employees. The general requirement is about 10 hours per week.

In addition, the program lasts 4 to 12 weeks (between a month and three months), often the equivalent of an academic semester. However, some programs can push up to a year, especially for entry-level professionals. Factors such as cost for the interns, availability, organization budget, and purposes affect the length of the internship.

Which Organizations Offer Internship Programs?

Every organization, including government institutions, can offer internships. Companies can choose to opt-out of internships depending on their budget. No legislation demands all companies offer internships.

Because internships can be under the evaluation of a higher institution’s personnel, it is safe to assume that all industries can offer internships. However, some industries (such as those mentioned above) may benefit more from apprenticeships.

Who Can Be An Intern?

Interns are usually undergraduates or college students. However, they can also be professionals who want to explore a different career, take a break from the workforce, join a specific industry, or have been unemployed for a long time.

Because internships are not regulated by legislation, the requirements often vary from organization to organization. However, some of the general requirements include the following:

●  Being at least 18 years old.

●  Having met the desired educational qualifications.

●  Having met experience qualifications

●  Being a resident of the country or able to work remotely

Skills Needed For An Internship

Internship application is competitive. As such, companies are always looking for skills spanning beyond educational qualifications. Employers look for interns with specific skills they can develop, such as:

●  Problem-solving

●  Adaptability

●  Initiative

●  Receptiveness

●  Collaboration and teamwork capabilities

●  Good verbal and written communication

●  Time management

●  Critical thinking

●  Proper planning and prioritizing

●  Technical proficiency

Difference Between An Apprenticeship And An Internship

The table below outlines the main differences between an apprenticeship and an internship.

More common globally and spread across multiple industriesLess common globally and are limited to various industries
Short-term; often between 1 to 3 monthsLong-term; lasting one to three years
Part-time or longer, depending on the employer’s requirementsFull-time
Only focuses on working
Combines working with classroom instruction
Pays less or not at allOffers greater pay that increases with progression
Few entry-level responsibilities involving little mentorshipHands-on expert-level responsibilities with mentorship
It does not guarantee a job in the organizationIt almost always guarantees a position in the company
Does not offer credentials or certification after completion
Give participants industry-recognized credentials.
Less structured
Offers more structured and specialized training

Final Thoughts

While it may seem that only the interns or apprentices reap benefits from these programs, businesses also have much to gain.

For starters, employers will onboard already trained and experienced workers. This often translates to higher retention rates, better productivity, and less time spent looking for skilled workers.

Employers can partner with Workpay to reach a more diverse talent pool through remote hiring for internship and apprenticeship programs. Get in touch today.  


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