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Earning and learning, could your small business take on an intern or apprentice?

Earning and learning, could your small business take on an intern or apprentice?

Nowadays the educational journey for students and young adults isn’t as straightforward as it once was. There are so many options available out there for the next generation.

College-leavers now have fantastic opportunities that their parents did not, they can choose to full time employment, university, apprenticeships or perhaps even setting up their own business. Each path is different and offers different skills.

Businesses across the UK now take on apprenticeships and internships regularly, we’re going to take a look at the difference and what options you might have as a small business owner.

Earning and learning, could your small business take on an intern or apprentice?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme which leads to a nationally recognised qualification. The scheme usually take between one and four years to complete and involves both on-the-job training and off-site qualifications.

Three different parties are involved in the process and all must to agree to take part, these are:

  1. The apprentice
  2. The employer
  3. The external training provider

There are specific rules and regulations you must follow when setting up an apprenticeship scheme, you can visit Gov.UK for more information about apprenticeships or visit our legal information area that can be accessed by FSB members via this web page.

Small businesses can enquire here if they are interested in employing an apprentice. 

What is an intern?

Internships originated in the USA and would usually give a group of students the chance to work within highly competitive industries such as journalism, politics and IT to gain experience in those particular sectors. Internships can now be found in this country too.

Employers can offer students or young adults the chance to shadow and work alongside current staff within the business for a fixed period of time.

We need to be clear on this point: there is no legal definition of what an intern is and it should not be considered the same as an apprenticeship. The term can be used to describe any kind of work experience placement, informal work shadowing placement or placement as part of a graduate recruitment scheme.

If you’re thinking about offering some students the chance to gain valuable training and work experience for a short period of time, then you could consider taking on an intern.

You can openly advertise the post and invite applications. Sometimes internships can be unpaid, but this is a tricky area and you must be sure that whatever you do complies with the law.

You can find more information relating to interns in our online legal information area. This can be exclusively accessed members of FSB.

Experience with interns or apprentices in your business? Get in touch via yourstories@fsb.org.uk!


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