What Does a Student Trainee Do?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

Many students in high school or college choose to take part in internships, which are unpaid positions with a company that allow the student to learn new skills and develop important contacts in the business world. Unlike an intern, however, a student trainee will be considered a paid member of a workforce team and will usually enter a more long-term arrangement. A student trainee will attend school while working for a company on a part time or seasonal basis in order to be trained for a longer term commitment after graduation.

The specifics of the student trainee position will vary significantly according to the type of business for which the student works, the education the student is receiving, and the career goals of that student. Trainees can work in just about any industry or work setting, and the skills he or she will learn as a student trainee will generally pertain specifically to the setting in which he or she will work. As a paid member of a work team, the trainee will have regular responsibilities and be subject to many of the same evaluations as other employees. Trainee positions generally do not pay exceptionally well, though the experience can be invaluable for a student looking to build a meaningful career.

In some cases, the student trainee may end up earning specific certifications or licenses while on the job, assuming he or she qualifies for such licenses and certificates. This prepares the trainee for work once he or she graduates, and it makes the student trainee a more valuable job candidate for potential employers. Taking advantage of a traineeship can also help the student because he or she may be able to get a job within the company that offers the traineeship once he or she graduates. The trainee will have the opportunity to impress managers and develop a meaningful relationship with other employees, thereby improving his or her chances of becoming a full-time hire.

Traineeships may be considered apprenticeships in some settings, though apprenticeships generally last longer and result in a specific type of certification. An apprentice may, for example, work toward a welding license by passing certification exams and taking part in an apprenticeship under a journeyman welder. A student trainee, however, probably won't be able to become a journeyman once he or she finishes a traineeship; instead, he or she may be prepared to enter an apprenticeship after the trainee period ends. In some settings, the terms "trainee" and "apprentice" are interchangeable.

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