Updating Results

Apprenticeship vs. Internship: A Comprehensive Comparison

Amina Ibrahim

Discover key differences between apprentice vs internships with our detailed comparison and learn which option best suits your career goals.

When you are looking to get a foot in the door of the working world, deciding between apprentice vs. internship is one of the most important decisions you will make. Even though they might seem pretty similar, the choice you make can actually determine the path your career takes.

But how do you even decide? What factors should affect your decision? Is it about duration or depth of learning? Or perhaps about hands-on experience versus theoretical knowledge? What about the end goal? These questions might hover in your mind and rightly so. 

But to answer them well, you must understand what makes these 2 options different from each other. That is the main focus of this guide. We will explore 9 major differences between apprenticeships and internships so you know exactly when to choose each one.

What is an apprenticeship?

Image Source

An apprenticeship is a hands-on training program where you learn a specific trade or skill by working alongside experienced professionals in a real-world setting. It provides a structured learning experience alongside attending classes or workshops to enhance your knowledge.

What is an internship?

Image Source


An internship is a temporary work opportunity where you get practical experience in a specific field or industry. It is a chance to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations and learn firsthand about the day-to-day workings of a profession. Through internships, you can explore if a particular career path is a good fit for you before committing fully.

Apprenticeship vs. Internship: 9 key differences you should know

Both apprenticeship and internship open doors to promising careers but lead down different paths. Let's break down 9 major differences that can help you decide which suits you best.

1. Entry requirements


Since apprenticeships are more structured, they have a stricter selection process compared to internships. The entry requirements could differ depending on the industry or field you are interested in. Usually, you need a baseline level of education like a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Some programs might require additional qualifications or prerequisites related to the field, like certain courses, certifications, or even prior work experience. A college degree might not always be mandatory but it can give you a big advantage. It is more about showing you have the basics down before getting into a specific trade or skill set.


Internships typically have more flexible entry requirements. They are often seen as opportunities for college graduates or students to get practical experience in their chosen field or receive college credits. While some internships have specific criteria, like being enrolled in a degree program, many internships are open to recent college graduates or individuals still pursuing their degrees.

Internships also have different levels, ranging from introductory positions for students to more specialised roles for graduates. Some require specific skills or coursework related to the field but the requirements tend to be less rigid compared to apprenticeships.

2. Structure & duration


Apprenticeships are hands-on training programs. They typically involve a longer-term commitment compared to internships. Apprenticeships are structured, often lasting anywhere from 1 to 6 years, depending on the field or trade. 

During this time, apprentices work under the guidance of experienced professionals to learn new skills in a specific industry. Learning happens through real-world experiences combined with classroom instruction. This longer duration allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the trade or profession and provides a strong foundation for your career.


Internships, on the other hand, are shorter in duration and usually last from a few weeks to a few months. Companies often structure internship programs to match up with summer breaks or academic semesters. Internships are more focused on providing college students with a taste of real-world work experience within a specific industry or company.

Internships can be structured in different ways – some involve project-based work, shadowing professionals, or rotational programs that expose you to different aspects of the business. 

3. Learning approach


Apprenticeships are a blend between learning in a classroom and learning on the job. The learning curve is steeper because there is a focus on mastering a specific skill set or trade. You are shadowing or observing and actively engaged in the day-to-day work, getting your hands dirty, so to speak. 


Internships provide more of an experiential learning opportunity. During an internship, you are likely to work on actual projects and tasks but the main focus is not always on skill-building.

The emphasis in an internship is more on exposure and understanding. You will:

  • Get a broader view of the industry
  • Get a sense of different roles within a company
  • Learn how things operate in a professional environment

While you might pick up some specific skills along the way, the depth of skill development is not as intensive as in an apprenticeship.

4. Compensation


Almost all professional apprenticeships offer a salary or stipend, especially if they are part of a formalised program. This payment varies based on factors like the industry, location, and level of expertise you bring in. 

However, not all apprenticeships guarantee payment. Beyond the monetary compensation, completing an apprenticeship helps you secure an industry-recognized credential that can add weight to your resume.


Internships fall into 2 categories: paid and unpaid. 

  • With a paid internship, you get a salary or hourly wage. These can be quite competitive and are usually offered by larger companies or those with well-established internship programs. 
  • On the other hand, unpaid internships give you only college credit or valuable industry experience. While these might not provide immediate financial gain, they can still be worthwhile for a college graduate if they offer substantial learning opportunities and help build their resume.

5. Level of responsibility


Apprenticeships are designed to train you thoroughly in a specific trade or profession, so you are typically handed a heavier load of responsibility right from the get-go. They consider you more of a team member than just an observer. You are expected to contribute actively, take on tasks, and even handle certain projects independently under guidance.

The level of responsibility gradually increases as you progress through the program. With experience and knowledge, you will handle more complex tasks and projects – taking on real responsibilities within the scope of your training.


Image Source

Internships come with a lower level of initial responsibility compared to apprenticeships. In internships, you are there to learn and get a taste of the professional world which can involve shadowing, assisting, or contributing to ongoing projects under supervision.

Internships typically start with tasks that provide exposure to the company or industry. As an intern, you will often work alongside professionals but your role will be more observation-based initially. 

However, as you prove your capabilities and gain more experience, your level of responsibility can increase throughout the internship, with opportunities to take on more substantial tasks or projects.

6. Employability & job placement


Apprenticeships have a direct path to employment because of the structured nature of the program and the depth of experience gained. Many apprenticeship programs are designed with the intent of grooming and preparing individuals for a specific job within the company or industry. If you perform well, chances are you will get full-time employment with the same company.


While internships provide valuable experience and insight, they don’t always directly translate into job offers. Internships are more about offering exposure and learning opportunities within a specific company or industry. Securing full-time employment after an internship depends on various factors like the company's hiring needs and the overall job market conditions.

That said, internships can still significantly increase your employability. They give you networking opportunities to connect with other professionals. You can also increase your chances of getting considered for future job openings within that company or industry through your skills and work ethic. 

7. Mentorship & guidance

Image Source


In an apprenticeship, you are typically assigned a mentor or a guide right from the start. This person is your go-to support system throughout the program. They are experienced professionals in your field. They will walk you through the practicalities, give you insights, and help you develop specific skills. 

It is a more structured and personalised learning experience where you get continuous feedback and advice tailored to your growth.


Internships don’t guarantee the same level of dedicated mentorship. While some internships do provide mentors or supervisors, the degree of guidance can vary. You might find yourself interacting with different team members or managers, each offering their insights or instructions based on the tasks you are assigned.

It is more diverse in terms of learning from various perspectives but might lack the consistency of having one mentor dedicated to your professional development. However, this doesn't diminish the value of the guidance you receive during an internship; it is just structured differently compared to the more in-depth mentorship found in apprenticeships.

8. Skill development


In an apprenticeship, the focus on skill development is intense and deliberate. The structured nature of apprenticeships means there is a clear roadmap for your skill development. You will be working on real projects and applying what you learn in a practical setting. 

You will polish your skills with professionals guiding you. Also, apprenticeships cover more than just the technical stuff. You will pick soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and time management in real-world situations.


Internships have a slightly different approach to skill development. Sometimes, the tasks might align closely with your field of interest, allowing for significant skill development. Other times, you might be doing more general tasks that might not directly contribute to your skill set.

However, since internships can offer a broader view of the industry, you will likely gain a mix of technical and transferable skills but the depth of expertise might vary based on the tasks assigned. 

9. Certification & recognition


Apprenticeships are usually regulated and come with a structured curriculum. Once you finish your apprenticeship, you will get industry-recognised certification or qualification. 

This recognition can be a big plus when you are job hunting because it shows your expertise and practical experience. These certifications hold a lot of weight and could even be mandatory for certain roles.


Internships don't have a standardised certification process. While some companies might offer certificates of completion or acknowledgment, these don’t carry the same weight or industry-wide recognition as apprenticeship certifications.





Entry Requirements

More structured selection process

Flexible criteria, often for students or graduates

Structure & Duration

Long-term, 1-6 years

Short-term, weeks to months

Learning Approach

Blend of classroom and hands-on work

Experiential, focused on real-world exposure


Usually paid, with a focus on training and experience

Paid or unpaid, emphasising learning opportunities

Level of Responsibility

Higher, active contribution expected from the start

Lower, observation-based initially

Employability & Job Placement

Direct path to employment, grooming for specific roles

Exposure and networking for potential opportunities

Mentorship & Guidance

Assigned mentor for continuous support

Varies, may have supervisors but less consistency

Skill Development

Intense, deliberate skill refinement and wide-ranging

Varied, dependent on tasks and company structure

Certification & Recognition

Industry-recognised certification upon completion


Limited certification, more focus on experience

Apprentice vs. Internship: Which is best for you?

Choosing between an apprenticeship and an internship depends on your goals, preferences, and the industry you are interested in. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Choose apprenticeship when

  • Earning a wage or stipend while gaining experience is a priority for financial stability.
  • You prefer a more hands-on, practical learning experience with a structured training program.
  • Mentorship is crucial to your learning style and you value guidance from experienced professionals.
  • You thrive in a structured environment with a clear progression path and a formalised training curriculum.
  • Building a career in a specific trade or profession is your primary goal and you are committed to investing time and effort.

Choose internship when

  • You prioritise building a network and connections within an industry or company.
  • You want a shorter-term commitment to get exposure to a specific field, industry, or company.
  • You like learning in a flexible setup, where you can easily adjust to new tasks and responsibilities.
  • You are exploring different career paths and want to try various industries or roles before committing long-term.

Prosple: Your gateway to premier apprenticeships and internships

Prosple specialises in connecting students, graduates, and young professionals with internship and apprenticeship opportunities across various industries and locations in Australia. 

You can browse through different positions, providing details about the role, requirements, duration, and the company offering the opportunity. Our platform streamlines the application process and makes it easier for you to apply to multiple opportunities with a single profile or resume.

Let’s discuss in detail how Prosple can simplify your search for apprenticeship and internship opportunities.

1. Extensive database of opportunities

At Prosple, we have a comprehensive database of internships and apprenticeships across various industries and sectors. You can access a wide array of opportunities, ranging from entry-level positions to specialised programs.

2. Personalised matching algorithm

Our platform employs a sophisticated matching algorithm that considers your profile, skills, education, and preferences. This algorithm suggests relevant internships or apprenticeships that align with your qualifications and career aspirations.

3. User profiles & resumes

You can create detailed profiles showcasing your education, skills, work experience, and interests. You can upload resumes and portfolios for employers so that they gain insights into your qualifications easily.

4. Job listings and notifications

At Prosple, we regularly update our platform with new internship and apprenticeship listings. You can browse these listings and filter them by industry, location, duration, and other preferences. Additionally, you can set up notifications to receive alerts about new opportunities that match their criteria.

5. Application management

Prosple streamlines the application process for students. You can apply directly to internships or apprenticeships you are interested in. You can track your application statuses and manage multiple applications efficiently.

6. Work rights feature for international students

If you are an international student searching for internships or apprenticeships in Australia, Prople’s new Work Rights feature simplifies job eligibility for you. This feature helps you find opportunities that match your visa eligibility so you are only applying for positions you are eligible for.

7. Resources & insights

Prosple offers resources like articles, guides, and tips to help you navigate the internship or apprenticeship search process successfully. These resources include interview tips, resume writing advice, and industry-specific insights.


When deciding between apprentice vs. internship, know what you are good at, what you love doing, and where you see yourself in the future career-wise. Talk to mentors, career counsellors, and professionals in your field. But whichever path you choose, approach it with dedication and commitment – give it your all.

Prosple is a leading platform for finding apprenticeships and internships in Australia. Our advanced algorithms analyse your skills, interests, and aspirations to connect you with roles that perfectly align with your goals. We partner with many companies, from startups to Fortune 500s, to bring different opportunities for you. 

Launch your career journey with Prosple today!

You may also like

Why it’s worth considering an unpaid internship
Internships can open a lot of doors and help set up your graduate career, but not all of them come with a pay packet. Fi…
Summer vs winter internships: what’s the difference?
Any kind of internship is bound to help your career, but there are some differences between summer and winter internship…
How to secure quality internships
With more students attending university than ever before, internships are becoming increasingly competitive. What does i…
31+ Internship Interview Questions ( +Impressive Answers)
Prepare with confidence and increase your chances with our comprehensive list of 32 internship interview questions and i…
Why it’s worth considering an unpaid internship
Internships can open a lot of doors and help set up your graduate career, but not all of them come with a pay packet. Fi…
Summer vs winter internships: what’s the difference?
Any kind of internship is bound to help your career, but there are some differences between summer and winter internship…
How to secure quality internships
With more students attending university than ever before, internships are becoming increasingly competitive. What does i…
31+ Internship Interview Questions ( +Impressive Answers)
Prepare with confidence and increase your chances with our comprehensive list of 32 internship interview questions and i…