Apprenticeship or Internship?

What's the difference?

What’s the difference?

Many employers don’t know the difference between apprenticeships and internships and so, during recruitment stage, are unsure of which pathway would be most beneficial to their business. There are, in fact, quite a few differences between the two regarding wage, time period, and qualifications gained. We have listed these below to help you decide whether it would be more suitable to hire an apprentice or an intern.


  • Apprenticeships are traditionally associated with blue-collar industries such as construction or manual labour. This has changed in recent years and apprenticeships in professional services are on the rise.
  • Apprenticeships last for an extended period of time. This could be a year or two.
  • Applicants generally wish to pursue a career in their chosen apprenticeship sector.
  • Apprenticeships are a type of formal training, monitored by the government.
  • Apprentices gain a qualification at the end of it (NVQ, GNVQ or Foundation Degree)
  • Apprenticeships are paid. The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is GBP2.65 per hour. This applies to all apprentices aged under 19 and apprentices aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.
  • Apprenticeships give people a chance to learn and earn on the job.
  • Apprenticeships provide a route to a career, as lot of people stay with their employer after completion of the training.


  • Internships last for a shorter period of time. This could be just a few weeks.
  • The intern doesn’t gain any formal qualifications at the end of the internship, but there is a chance of being offered a job.
  • Sometimes internships are offered as a ‘probation period’ for a full time position.
  • Internships are best suited to people who are not sure of which profession they want to go into.
  • Internships give people a chance to explore different career options, to gain experience and improve their CV.
  • Internships are less formal as they have nothing to do with the government.
  • Internships are traditionally office based, white-collar work, such as publishing.
  • Internships are not often paid, but can be. Some offer a basic wage, or cover travel and lunch expenses.
  • Internships are often paid in medicine and law.
  • Internships can be part of a university course, such as a sandwich placement.
  • There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the internship.
  • Interns may not be performing tasks relevant to the job.