Summer is on the way and there are tens of thousands of students who are looking to gain some valuable experience in the workplace.
If your business operates in an in-demand industry, is there an opportunity for you here?
What is an intern?
An intern is a student or trainee who works for your company in order to obtain skills and experience in your sector. There are countless reasons why somebody would consider becoming an intern, for example being in a niche market that is hard for new faces to break in to.
Students can become interns to get their foot in the door of a potential future employer. For you as a business owner, this means that there are a large number of motivated students who would love to put both the hours and the graft into your firm to impress you.
And even if you don’t end up employing them, all they ask for in return is that you share some of your knowledge with them so they can put it on their CV.
Which sectors do interns generally tend to work in?
There is a wide variety of sectors interns can work in but your business might be attractive if you’re in the following sectors:
- Green Technology
- Media & Creative Industries
- Real Estate
How much should you pay an intern?
Well, people don’t always just become interns out of a desire for knowledge. Sometimes there’s also a monetary incentive at work. But how much money should you pay them and what rights will they be due?
There is no legal definition of an intern. Instead, they will fall into one of three categories. They are either:
A Worker – This means that they are entitled to certain rights such as the right to be accompanied during a disciplinary or tribunal, but most importantly, workers have the right to earn the Minimum Wage. If your intern is taking part of a formal work placement, they are likely to be classed as a worker because they will have signed a contract of employment.
An Employee – This means that there is a mutual obligation between the employer to provide work and the employee to complete that work. Employees have also signed employment contracts. Because of this, they are entitled to additional employee’s rights, including the right to equal pay, the right to not be unfairly dismissed, and once again, the right to earn the National Minimum Wage.
Doing Work Experience – An intern who is on work experience should not be doing any actual work. Work experience normally means that the intern will shadow a member of staff, and generally get a feel for what working in your business or industry is like. Because there’s no work being carried out, in this situation, they are not entitled to earn the Minimum Wage.
It is important to note that no matter which classification your intern falls under, you must pay them the National Minimum Wage if you make the promise of giving them future work while they are completing their internship.
Where can I find an intern?
If this all sounds like something your business could use, then looking for an intern is your next step. There are two main ways to do this, you can either:
- Review online applicants, or,
- Reach out to colleges and universities.
We would recommend reaching out to universities or colleges if your business requires somebody with a specific skillset. The vast majority of universities have student placement programs so working alongside the relevant faculties can result in you finding the student who best fits the job.
Alternatively, you can place a vacancy for an intern online just as you would for any other position you wold like filled. It is as simple as writing a brief description of what role they will fill, whether or not they will get paid, and what time commitment you require.