What’s the difference between internships, placements / co-ops, job shadows, mentorships and protégé relationships? I get this question a lot so what better place to answer than in a Freaky Friday post!
Let’s start with Internships
Internships have been in the news a lot lately due to growing backlash concerning exploitation of interns who are unpaid. The definition for an intern is basically “A professional working position that is often offered to students and inexperienced workers, which allow them to gain both, work experience in a particular field and on-the-job training.”
Co-ops / Placements
I placed these together since technically a co-op is basically a structured way to combine in-class learning with periods of work, and the work portion is usually called a co-op placement. The purpose of a co-op is to network, gain experience in the workplace and earn credits towards completing your degree or diploma. They are often paid however sometimes they are not, particularly those in high school.
They are unpaid and often involve observing what someone in a particular field does day-to-day on the job. There are no particular rules around job shadows, it really depends on the person being shadowed, the situation and how much observation is allowed in the industry (for example some health and safety or confidentiality issues many prevent a full job shadow experience) They can also last anywhere from an hour to several prearranged visits over weeks or months.
Lastly, Mentorships / Protégé Relationships
We’ve covered mentorships in previous posts, but just to recap, mentorships are defined as a personal developmental relationship with someone who is often more experienced or knowledgeable in a particular field. Similar to job shadowing, the relationship structure varies from meeting occasionally to ask questions to frequent contact and exchanging of ideas. Previously, the recipient of this kind of relationship was called a protégé, however more recently the term mentee has become more common.
So there you go! Hope that clarifies the wonderful world of work “ships”