Small Business Internship

Summer Internships and Your Small Business

The season for summer interns is on its way, typically made up of students looking for work experience which can give them the edge in their chosen field.

What are internships?

An internship is basically a work experience placement at a more advanced level. The intern is likely to have some sort of knowledge of the industry already. They might actively undertake work on your behalf, or they might shadow another employee to see how things are done. They are becoming increasingly common, with 39% of graduates in their twenties having done one.

Why internships are useful

Offering internships is good for both intern and employer. The intern is gaining valuable real-world experience in a particular field, picking up knowledge and skills and having something to talk about on their CV. For employers, it’s a good way of helping shape the future of your industry.

Who can offer an internship?

Technically there are no restrictions on who can offer an internship, though like any business decision it’s one to consider properly. 46% of employers have offered an internship, though large employers are twice as likely to offer them as a smaller business.

What to know about offering an internship

Though anyone may offer an internship, not everyone should. The best internships are to help the intern better understand and experience that industry. It’s not necessarily to be used as a free way of getting the filing done by people who happen to be available over the summer. Which brings us to our next point; paying your interns.

The law says that if they are undertaking the work placement under the following conditions, then you do not need to pay your interns:

  • If they are doing an internship to satisfy a requirement of their course
  • If you are a charity and they are volunteering
  • They are shadowing an employee and not actively working

If you’re offering an internship it needs to be made clear what the pay terms of the placement are. A voluntary internship is allowed, but if they will be carrying out essential and valuable work for you then it might be that your business needs to think about employing someone.

Like anyone coming on-site to work on any basis, make sure all of the proper health and safety regulations are followed!

Stephanie Whalley
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.