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Say Goodbye To Your Interns...

The common perception of an internship is that it’s for a college student, and at extremely low cost to the business, if at any cost - most interns are for college credit only. Basically, “internship” has become code for “free labor” for a lot of people, and new research and action by large companies might be proving those critics right.

There are a lot of reasons why this has become the case: businesses are skittish about working their interns too hard knowing the compensation isn’t good; the typical length of an internship is a college semester, which might be too short of a time to really train someone to do something consequential; and there’s no guarantee that an intern ever

actually accepts a role at that company.

For many small businesses, internships are a burden.

It takes time for trained staff to work with someone new. This all adds up to interns being glorified servants at a lot of business: running errands and filing papers - the workplace equivalent of handing your dad tools while he fixes something.

According to a new article on Business Insider, large companies are starting to ditch internships altogether, in favor of fellowships and apprenticeships.

So what’s the difference? Is it just a few new words to help rehabilitate the image of an internship? Yes and no.

It is true that those two words have a different connotation than an internship, which can help with the hiring process. Someone who has graduated already will not be seeking an internship, but the range of potential hires that could be interested in a fellowship or an apprenticeship is much wider.

The other stumbling block these terms address is the duration of the term. The fact that internships take place just over the course of a college semester makes it hard for it to be worth it for a business to invest in.

A fellowship or apprenticeship is far less defined, so your business can tailor its program to what it needs. Maybe it’s shorter than an internship, or maybe it’s an entire year.

It’s much better to spend time training someone who will be with your company for an entire year than it is taking time to train them when they’ll be gone in twelve weeks or so and home on holiday weekends.

Companies have also started using these alternative programs as sort of training grounds for their next level of entry level hires. It gives a company an opportunity to hire employees that are potentially talented, though not traditionally qualified for their entry level positions as they stand.

This was once a strength of the internship, but over time it has eroded.

Consider what your business is doing to gain new employees and whether or not a traditional internship program is right for you. For a lot of businesses, that answer is no - and some new programs are beginning to find their way to the forefront in the internship’s place.

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