Internships vs Apprenticeships

Date Published: 14/12/2020

It can be quite confusing for students who are in their last year of school to decide the best way forward to kick-start their careers. There can be many mixed messages about the best programme for students, especially if they do not want to go to University.

So, what do you choose?

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship?

Generally, both apprenticeships and internships provide highly valued experience within a particular field of work. Furthermore, they are both fantastic opportunities for businesses as they can help to fill staff shortages.


An apprenticeship, generally, requires a person to be 16 years or over, not in full-time education and live in England.

  • Learn and train on a specific job.
  • Study at a college / university / another training provider.
  • Get Paid.
  • Annual Leave available.
  • May need to have relevant GCSEs and/or A Levels.
  • Requires more independence in working.


With a general internship, it is a common belief that the intern will only further their skills from the employer and is only gaining experience. However, this is only for certain internships. For some, such as Supported Internships, with Forward2Employment, they offer work placements, training on the job and qualifications (related to the job and/or GCSEs).

  • Gain work placement experience.
  • Learn and train on a specific job.
  • Does not always need specific qualifications.
  • Some internships do not provide qualifications (Forward2Employment does!).
  • Often not paid.

What about Supported Internships?

However, Forward2Employment’s Supported Internship, is different, not only does it have all of the strengths listed above, but it also improves on some of the general weaknesses found in other internship programmes. Forward2Employment works with interns who are aged 19-24 and have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, to get them into work. We provide the opportunity for interns to gain GCSE or equivalent qualifications, while they are gaining valued skills at their work placement. These lessons are delivered by expert teachers in their subject, who have a knowledge in teaching students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

While it is true that Forward2Employment’s internship programme does not provide a salary to the interns, interns are still classed as being in full-time education, and therefore they can take advantage of student opportunities.

At the end of the internship with Forward2Employment, we encourage the employer to take on the intern with a paid position. However, if not, the intern does not lose contact with us. We work hard following the internship to ensure that former interns have all of the skills and assistance needed to gain employment, even helping them look for work.

We hope that this blog has helped you in answering the questions around the differences between Apprenticeships, Internships and Supported Internships.

If you want to be an intern at Forward2Employment, visit our website to find out more: