There are several different student temporary employment options that can provide young people with on-the-job experience and, potentially, future full-time employment. The most common types are paid and unpaid internships, which usually provide students with one to six months of employment at companies specializing in their chosen fields. A cooperative education typically incorporates student temporary employment into one or more courses that a college or university student is taking, and an apprenticeship provides students with on-the-job training while they are attending school.
Paid internships are one of the most popular forms of student temporary employment available. Companies typically offer a select number of paid internships per year, and students with an interest in the field in which the company works can apply for the internships. If selected, the student is allowed to work at the company, usually in an assistant capacity, while still being allowed to shadow, or even participate, in the other areas of the company. Oftentimes, the pay is negligible and often no more than minimum wage. The company may provide housing and a stipend for food and transportation to its interns, rather than paying an actual wage.
An unpaid internship is exactly the same as a paid internship, and allows the student to work for a company for a set amount of time and shadow some employees in positions in which the student is interested. Despite this, unpaid internships do not provide students with any form of compensation other than experience during their temporary employment. In some countries, government assistance is provided to those participating in an unpaid internship to pay for food and housing.
Many colleges and universities, especially those specializing in certain fields, will set up a program with local employers in the same field for student temporary employment programs. This is often referred to as cooperative education, and typically a set amount of time during a student’s studies is set aside for working at one of these companies, and the work that the student does is a part of his or her grade at the college or university. In some cases, the student temporary employment occurs right before a student has enough credit hours to obtain his or her degree, and his or her final paper is based on his or her experience with the outside company.
Apprenticeships are one step above cooperative education student temporary employment, in that the entire educational program is combined with on-the-job-training. This is common among trades such as heavy equipment operation, electricians, and welders. These programs are usually provided by a school that either works with a local company or acts as a company and a school. The student will typically attend classes for part of the day and work for the rest, often being paid a reasonable wage. Upon completing the program, the student may be able to earn a job with the company or seek employment with similar entities.