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Internship, Apprenticeship, Shadowing: What’s the Difference?

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Career Tips

Internship, Apprenticeship, Shadowing: What’s the Difference?

Not a lot of people entirely consider the differences, the similarities, and the significance of different types of work experiences. Let us take a look at what responsibilities can be expected of you as an intern, an apprentice, or within a shadowing role:

Internship:

  • Duration: 1-3 months, or 6 at most
  • An intern may be assigned a supervisor/ manager of a group, might not necessarily get mentored for full-time role
  • Work detail may be extremely specific or may only require an intern to fulfill entry-level responsibilities 
  • Paid or unpaid job, depends entirely upon the hiring company
  • University credit given if required by institution

Apprenticeship:

  • Duration: usually 1-3 years (then full-time)
  • An apprentice gets individually mentored under industry professionals 
  • Given specific training and a detail-oriented career plan with your specific role in mind
  • A paid work experience that provides on-the-job learning with high possibility of full-time job
  • Apprentice gets university credit if required and  industry-level certification or credentials

Shadowing:

  • Duration: depends upon the academic rules or employer’s requirements
  • Shadowing is more necessary within practical fields such as Medical or other STEM subjects. 
  • Leadership development is a plus, on-the-job learning is a given (just like all work experiences but shadowing is comparatively more up-close)
  • Watch & learn from seasoned professionals, which rewards you with a real-life field experience of their daily job(s)
  • shadowing role may not be paid or include that many assigned tasks like the other two types


A lot of students or young professionals have the mindset that formal education is the most crucial, and therefore their academics should be prioritized over early career development. But if you have the time commitment to do so, then going for work experiences is a very good decision. For further reading, feel free to head over to this blog discussing the question: “Do grades matter?”If you are already investing your time into university and other further education, then taking on work experiences will complement your studies, help you develop into a professional early on in life, and help you have a fulfilling career with strong leadership skills. 

 

To wrap up, any sort of experience is highly important and valuable, because apart from the specific learning that you receive, it ultimately instills you with basic work ethics. The best way to strengthen your job profile is to focus upon developing yourself as an independent individual who can contribute to society and to your respective work field with training and practical experience that goes beyond traditional schooling. To help you further, here are some career-building pointers that can boost your professional game! 

 

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