Internships, Apprenticeships & Traineeships – what are the differences?

Internships, Apprenticeships & Traineeships – what are the differences?

When it comes to looking for experience or gaining qualifications, there are more routes than ever before.

Whether you have just finished education or looking for a new career path, finding the right route is vital to ensure that you end up where you want to be. These can include internships, apprenticeships and traineeships; but knowing the differences to these qualifications is important to getting on the right path to a working career.

But what are the differences? Which route will be best for you?


Internships are offered by employers for university graduates to gain hands on experience in a chosen field. These can last anywhere from a few weeks to even a year, depending on the employer. Some can be over the Summer break, while others are for those who finished university. Employers will even offer them during university time, so you can complete your degree and gain experience at the same time.

Internships are a fantastic way to gain the skills needed to progress in the sector, but it can also give a chance to see if the route is right for you. You can network with others in the field, whether that be in the business or in other settings.  

Many internships used to be voluntary, but now employers will pay for you to complete your time there. This can make the act of finding an internship quite competitive, so securing an internship can may not be as easy as it sounds.  

Gaining a degree in you chosen field is an incredibly impressive feat, but even that may not be enough to gain a full time career. Experience is a vital aspect to applying for positions in this day and age; Internships can give you some experience in that sector to progress to full time careers.


Apprenticeships are a form of education in which you gain employment and a nationally recognised qualification; as long the candidate is 16 or over. Many will require you to have A – C (9 – 4) in Maths and English GCSE, a specific qualification or experience in a similar sector. Depending on the qualification, apprenticeships can last between 12 – 24 months. There are different levels to the apprenticeship scheme as well, so knowing where to start is important.

A great advantage for apprenticeships is that you are paid as they are classed as full time work. However, the rate of pay can start from as little as £4.50 hour, so always keep an eye out for the wage when searching for roles. If apprenticeships are completed with a college, you will attend class once a week. At 360 Apprenticeships, we only work with Ofsted graded training providers who conduct apprenticeship online and in the workplace.

Choosing an apprenticeship doesn’t just give you a qualification, but the prospect of gaining a full time position within that business/sector. After completing your apprenticeship level, you can the progress and even work your way up to a Level 7 (higher/masters level).

Coursework, exams, modules and end point assessments are all part of the apprenticeship process; but don’t worry! Each apprentice is partnered with a tutor who will be there to guide you every step of the way.

In the last few years, the amount of apprenticeship standards that have become available is high than ever. So whether you want to become a teacher or a software engineer, there is sure to be an apprenticeship out there for you.


Traineeships are another form of educational training programme that can help learners in securing apprenticeships or even full-time employment. Aimed at 16–24-year-olds who haven’t yet been able to gain Level 3 qualifications, traineeships can give the individual a chance to gain the skills to progress.

Lasting six weeks to six months, these traineeship courses will give you a number of elements that will make sure that you are prepared for future work. This includes:

  • Work experience – great for anyone who has little or no experience within the chosen sector
  • Preparation training – offering skills for the work place, CV writing, interview preparation etc.
  • English and Maths – If unable to gain Maths and English GCSE, can gain Functional Skills Level 2

Something to take into consideration is that a number of traineeships are unpaid, but the skills and knowledge you can learn are invaluable. At the end of your traineeship, you will receive a Level 1 in Employability Skills and maybe even other qualifications depend on the employer.


The avenues to securing a job in this day and age is more accessible than ever, but knowing the best way to get there can be a little confusing. These routes may not be right for everyone, but they are great to building the experience and knowledge needed to be successful within the sector.

How 360 Apprenticeships can help

Whether you are looking to an apprentice or start your apprenticeship journey, 360 Apprenticeships can help. We provide a free service from first point of contact to the successful placement of each apprentice. Every apprentice who is successful will be placed with the best training providers (Graded 1 and/or 2 by Ofsted) so you know that everyone is in safe hands.

You can find out more regarding the apprenticeship scheme on our website. To speak to one of our recruiters directly, you can contact us on:

0161 4644805

or email us at [email protected]. You can also find us on social media:

Facebook: 360 Apprenticeships

Instagram: @360apprenticeships

LinkedIn: 360-apprenticeships

Twitter: @360Apprentices