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Internship programs facilitate experiential learning and provide a system of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Internships for professional careers are similar to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults. On occasion, they are middle school or even elementary students.
Generally, the internship works as an exchange of services for experience between the student and his or her employer. They can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Some interns also find permanent, paid employment with the companies in which they interned. Thus, employers also benefit as experienced interns need little or no training when they begin full-time regular employment.
Types of internships
Internships exist in a wide variety of various industries and setting. An internship may be paid, unpaid or partially paid (in the form of a stipend). Paid internships are common in professional fields including medical, architecture, science, engineering, law, business (especially accounting and finance), technology, and advertising fields. Non-profit charities and think tanks have unpaid, volunteer positions. Internships may be part-time or full-timeTemplate:Mdashtypically, they are part-time during the university year and full-time in the summer. They usually last 6–12 weeks, but can be shorter or longer, depending on the company involved. The act of job shadowing may also constitute interning.
The two primary types of internships that exist in the United States are:
- An additional type of internship growing in popularity is the virtual internship, in which the intern works remotely, and is not physically present at the job location. It provides the capacity to attain the same results without the conventional means of being physically present at a job. Usually the internship is conducted via virtual means, such as phone, email, and web communication. Virtual interns generally have the opportunity to work at their own pace.
Fees for internship and charity auctions
Some companies now find and place students in mostly unpaid internships for a fee. These companies charge to assist with a search, promising to refund their fees if no internship is found. These programs vary, but they claim to provide internship placements at reputable companies, provide controlled housing in a new city, mentorship and support throughout the summer, networking, weekend activities in some programs, and sometimes academic credit.
Another form of paying for internships is through charity auctions. A company with an internship will select a charity who will obtain an internship position funded by the auction. In some cases, companies have created internships simply to help a charity.
Some claim that fee-based programs and charity auctions restrict internship opportunities to students in wealthier families. These companies respond that "the average student comes from the middle class, and their parents "dig deep" to pay for it." Some companies specifically fund scholarships and grants for low-income applicants.
Critics of internships also decry the practice of requiring certain college credits to be obtained only through unpaid internships. Depending on the cost of the school, this is often seen as an unethical practice, as it requires students to exchange paid-for and often limited tuition credits in order to work an uncompensated job. Even if the school does not require credit for an internship, companies offering the internship often pressure colleges to give college credit so interns cannot complain that they receive nothing for their efforts.
Internships by region
Internship laws and practices vary widely from country to country, and region to region.
Asia and Australia
Internships in Australia are often referred to as "work experience" when undertaken by grammar school students and "industry experience" when undertaken by university students. Some degree programs such as engineering require a minimum amount of industry experience (usually 12 weeks) to attain professional accreditation with industry bodies such as Engineers Australia.
Unpaid internships are legal and allowed for under the Fair Work Act 2009. There are a number of criteria used to determine if the engagement forms a legitimate internship, including:
Some courses offered in public universities of Malaysia require the student to attend an industrial training for a period of minimum ten weeks. This includes, for example, engineering, architecture and the like. This period however varies from ten weeks to as long as 6 months.
In New Zealand, there are a number of colleges where students can undertake an internship whilst studying - for example Queenstown Resort College . Students there studying adventure tourism or hospitality management must complete an internship in order to complete their course studies. However most of these internships are paid by the employer.
Work without pay is inappropriate in Denmark. One way it can be done is as part of a work-trial where a person is tested by the authorities in conjunction with putting the individual back into the workplace.
It is also common within most Danish universities to place students in "free work" jobs. The company is then compensated and the intern gets welfare during this period. This normally lasts about three months. The Danish Trade Unions monitor this type of work very thoroughly so the hiring of an intern does not result in the loss of a paid job.
At French universities, internships, known as “stages”, are common. They occur during the third or fourth year of studies. The duration of French internships varies from 2 to 6 months. As of 1 2012[update]Template:Dated maintenance category, French labor law requires that all internships of 2 months or longer include minimum pay of 436,05€ per month. In France, it is also becoming more popular to perform internships after studies are completed.
Internships in France are also popular for international students. The primary reason international students intern in France is to learn to speak French fluently. French companies greatly appreciate employees who speak multiple languages and thus international opportunities are available.
As in most other countries, most students take their internship (German: "Praktikum") during the fourth or fifth semester of their degree. In some fields of study it is common to write the final thesis in a company.
Another type of internship has emerged in recent years is the post graduation internship. The difficult situation in the labor market in Germany during the last years has made it hard for people to find the right job, especially for people that have just graduated and lack work experience. Because of this, employees often take internships at their preferred place of employment while earning very little or no pay at all, in the hope of landing a job there in the future. In response, many companies now have policies in place that restrict internship positions to current students.
Since the Italian University System entered into the Bologna process, an internship experience (commonly referred to by the French term stage) has been made compulsory for almost all those studying for a bachelors or a master's degree (especially in technical, economic or scientific faculties). The goal of this process is to reduce the gap between the companies' demands and the often very theoretical learning offered by Italian universities. However, since the internship is usually made at university as well and since the few companies that accept student interns rarely offer proper training, these internships are generally not a real work experience. Almost all the students therefore have to do a second or a third internship after they are done with their studies, hoping to receive a proper professional training, being hired afterward in the same company or in another company in a close or related business.
Italian internships can last up to 6 months and are renewable for other 6 months. The total period can be up to 12 months. Internships in Italy can be both paid or unpaid. Students internships, especially the ones not involved with the development of a thesis, are usually not paid.
Almost all the graduate internships are paid, but the remuneration is usually extremely low, around 600 euros gross per month (that is about 1/4 of the gross monthly remuneration of an hired young graduate employee) and without benefits other than the lunch and a few paid days for sickness/vacation (so no 13th/14th mensilities, no parental leave etc.). This poses a big problem for fresh graduates, considering as well that some companies use graduate interns just to save money, making them work for 6 to 12 months without giving them a decent remuneration, without offering them proper training/formation, and without hiring them after the internship even if they showed to be productive, fast-learning and trustworthy. In other words, a significant percentage of Italian graduates, after one or even two years from the end of their studies (in some cases even masters studies), are still searching for a real job, that can offer stability and a decent remuneration. This, together with the long time necessary to graduate in Italy, is part of the reason why graduate Italians leave the family home very late, usually in their early 30s.
In the Netherlands it is also common to perform internships during college which, just like in Belgium and France, is called a stage. Most student internships last between 3 and 9 months. Companies are not obligated to pay the student, so sometimes small companies won't pay anything. The normal internship compensation rate in the Netherlands is around €300 per month, depending on education level and company generosity.
At Spanish universities, internship during the education period are uncommon. "Real" work experience for students begins only when they are done with their study.
Some Spanish companies are getting more used to having student internships—mostly these are international students from other European countries. Often, students want to learn Spanish. Placement organizations may be needed as Spanish companies are harder to contact directly. The normal stage compensation rate in Spain is around 500€/month. Retribution is regulated in many universities starting from 6€/hr. Given these rates, Spanish employers who do hire interns often may be taking advantage of unpaid interships in order to get free labor.
- Main article: Work experience
In Great Britain, internships are often referred to as 'sandwich placements'. They are valid work experience and are performed as part of a degree program. University staff give students access,and students apply direct to employers. Some students opt not to go on a sandwich placement however apply for internships during summer in between years at University. Some universities hold fairs and exhibitions to encourage students to consider the option and to enable students to meet potential employers. In the modern labor market, graduates with internship work experience are deemed more desirable to employers. Research has demonstrated they attain higher level degree classifications than those graduates without such experience.
The purpose of these placements is varied. Some university students see it as a way to develop their employability by utilizing the academic elements of their degree in a practical setting. International students may also seek to get understanding about how work is conducted in the English-speaking world and to experience cultural diversity. Organisations such as the Trades Union Congress and Intern Aware have been lobbying for a change in British internships to make interns aware of their employment law rights.
- Main article: Work experience
In Canada, high school, college, and university student placements are typically referred to as "Co-ops" (co-operative education) programs. University co-op programs are often highly competitive; students must apply to and compete for admission, as enrollment is limited. Partnering employers will post placement opportunities through the university. These positions typically span a four month term taking place either during summer break or during the school year.
While some internships are unpaid (particularly in media, advertising, PR, and communications), many Canadian organizations do offer paid internships. Not all internships are entry-level positions; organizations may also offer internships for mid-level professionals. For example, in the province of Ontario, paid internships are available through Career Edge. This is a program for immigrants who have extensive experience in other countries but lack relevant Canadian experience. It is operated by the not-for-profit Career Edge Organization.
The nature and scope of unpaid internships in Canada is difficult to estimate. This is in part because there are no written regulations defining internships directly. Minimum wage for labour is covered by Employment Standards legislation and is governed at the provincial level. In Ontario, a 6-point test is applied to determine if an employee-employer relationship exists. The test is similar to that used in the United States by the Department of Labor.
Many internships in the United States are career specific. Students often choose internships based on their major at the university/college level. It is not uncommon for former interns to acquire full-time employment at an organization once they have enough necessary experience. The challenging job market has made it essential for college students to gain real world experience prior to graduation. In the US, company internships are at the center of NIGMS funded biotechnology training programs for science PhD students. One example is the Biotechnology Training Program - University of Virginia.
Not all internships are paid. Nearly all interns working in the United States must be paid, and at least the minimum wage, for their work in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many internships that are unpaid involve receiving college credit, especially if an internship is correlated with a specific class. The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division allows an employer not to pay a trainee if all of the following are true:
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;
- The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
- The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
- The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
- The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
An exception is allowed for individuals who volunteer their time, freely and without anticipation of compensation for religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. An exception is also allowed for work performed for a state or local government agency.
Some states have their own laws on the subject. Laws in the state of California, for example, require an employer to pay its interns working in California unless the intern receives college credit for the labor.
Internships in Brazil are known as estágios (lit. "stages") and internship workers are known as estagiários. They are regulated by the Lei do Estágio ("Law of Internship"). This law demands that companies pay a monthly income, although some internships are unpaid. It also requires that companies provide Personal Injury Service. The Lei do Estágio further stipulates a 30-hour limit of hours worked per week, which is normally divided into six hours per day from Monday to Friday. Estagiários have the right to 30 days of paid holiday for each year worked.
- Curricular Practical Training (for international students)
- Cooperative education
- Experiential education
- Permanent internship
- Postdoctoral researcher
- Work experience
- ↑ Definition of Internship (as set forth in the Ohio State University Department of Political Science, accessed March 27, 2012
- ↑ United Nations internship page, listing purposes of internship
- ↑ Virtual Internships. URL accessed on 17 February 2012.
- ↑ Laid-off workers should try internships first
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 includeonly>Sue Shellenbarger. "Do You Want An Internship? It'll Cost You", The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2009.
- ↑ includeonly>Timothy Noah. "Opportunity for Sale; Psst! Wanna buy an internship?", January 28, 2009.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Unpaid internships face legal, ethical scrutiny", The Bowdoin Orient, Bowdoin College, April 30, 2004
- ↑ http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/student-placement-and-unpaid-work/Pages/student-placements-work-experience-and-internships.aspx
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Crnković-Pozaić, Sanja, "Transition from School to Work: Internships and First Entry to the Labour Market in Croatia", European Training Foundation (ETF) agency of the European Union, Turin, Italy, working paper, 2009.
- ↑ Til debatten om sort arbejde, by Ellen Herkild, Arbejderen, September 4, 2004
- ↑ Jobtræning eller grov udnyttelse, by Claus Andersen, Arbejderen, February 9, 2005
- ↑ SiD Hillerød får ret i klage, January 7, 2003
- ↑ Nyt kvote 2 system fjerner motivation fra unge frivillige (New system removes motivation from youth volunteers), by Morten Münster, Metroxpress, May 13, 2008
- ↑ http://www.diariosigloxxi.com/texto-s/mostrar/62096/la-fape-insta-a-trabajo-a-actuar-contra-los-abusos-laborales-a-los-becarios
- ↑ AGR report 2008
- ↑ .http://www.gradplus.com/graduate-news/tuc-calls-for-interns-to-be-given-national-minimum-wage-800335480.aspx
- ↑ includeonly>"MPs should pay us as employees, say Parliament's revolting interns", The Independent, September 14, 2010.
- ↑ http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2012-03-29/article-2941535/Where-have-Ottawas-IT-st\ udents-gone/1
- ↑ http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/is_unpaidintern.php
- ↑ National Institute of General Medical Sciences: Biotechnology Predoctoral Research Training Program Institutions. URL accessed on 2 July 2009.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 includeonly>Greenhouse, Steven. "The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not", The New York Times, April 2, 2010.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 Advisory: Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 12-09. (PDF) United States Department of Labor.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 includeonly>"Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act" (PDF), United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, April 2010.
- ↑ Law of Internship
- "The Underground Intern Economy", Spare Change News, Boston, June 1, 2012
- Lucas, Clay, "Unpaid internship: code for modern-day exploitation?", The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, April 11, 2012
- Perlin, Ross, Intern nation : how to earn nothing and learn little in the brave new economy", 1st ed., Brooklyn, NY : Verso Books, 2011. ISBN 9781844676866
- Conlin, Michelle, "Intern Abuse?", Bloomberg Businessweek, May 5, 2009
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