Every generation has its own struggles and privileges. Take a look at the following brief history of internships to get a taste of what your predecessors went through.
The evolution of internships
What lessons does this history of internships teach us?
1. We no longer have to serve coffee, but competition’s gonna be tough
Some countries, such as the United States, have strict regulations regarding unpaid internships. Companies have to fulfill a set of criteria for their interns to pass as unpaid interns. While Singapore does not have a formal minimum wage for interns, its Employment Act grants interns the rights and benefits of full-time employees if their responsibilities are similar to those of full-time employees. All these laws serve to protect interns from abuse at the workplace.
Don’t sit idly on this protection, though. While we don’t have to bend over the photocopy machine the entire day, our chance of securing a job after the end of an internship is getting slimmer. Gone are the days when an apprenticeship contractually earns you a spot in the union; now we’ll have to fight for that spot even after the internship is over.
2. Internships are no longer just the nice-to-have
Already in Singapore, some polytechnic and university courses have made internships compulsory for students to graduate. The time has come to get up and run!
One challenge of this policy, however, is the fact that students sometimes accept internships that they most likely will not pursue as a career, just to fulfill the requirements. While in the past it was more usual for co-ops or apprentices to pursue internships that directly led to their career, it is not so common now. So choose wisely!
3. Change is the only constant
It is perhaps more important now than ever to be adaptable to changes in the job market and the nature of jobs. The overwhelming number of choices, possibility of virtual internships, and the increasingly competitive job market makes it an urgent need to update your skills and constantly explore your options.
But most importantly, stay positive! (Possibly link to the article on virtual internships, must-have skills for interns or (coming soon) exploring options during and after an internship)
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