What is an internship?

An internship is a period of work experience that allows the intern to work at an organisation for a fixed period of time. Most internships occur in industries where there is a high level of competition for paid employment, such as the media. This allows the intern to gain experience in his or her chosen field and allows the employer an opportunity to assess the intern for future employment, as well as providing an inexpensive source of short-term labour.

The legal status of interns will depend on the terms of their appointment and the reality of their treatment by the employer. Many interns are likely to be "workers" as they will have a contractual obligation to work personally for the organisation. Therefore, they will have the employment rights available to a worker such as the right to be paid at least the national minimum wage. If the intern is only observing or shadowing employees of the organisation, without undertaking any work him- or herself, he or she is unlikely to be a worker.