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thefooloftheyear 10th November 2017 4:47 PM

I'd like to hear some experiences from people who have actually worked as interns or perhaps had an intern work under them...

Over the years, when I had a new trainee, I paid them at the lower end of the wage scale, with hopes they could learn and start to perform to a level where they can start to earn for themselves and in turn, become a profitable employee..But the problem arose, where even at the lower pay scale, it took somewhere around a year or more to get to a level where the training and experience was such that it was no longer costing me any money to keep them on board...

So once they reach that level where I can start to get a return on the investment of time/money, they would often leave...Not that they didn't like it or the conditions were poor, they either could not handle the stress, the physical nature of the job, or they moved, etc...

So I really got tired of it, and now, while I have no problem bringing a new guy on and training him, I really don't want to be in a position where Ive paid dollars/time, and can't get it back...I know a contract could be drawn up, but I really don't want someone here that doesn't want to be here...Its just not practical from my viewpoint..

Because of the type of workload and variety, and the overall expertise here, a year here would eclipse any schooling in terms of knowledge gained and the ability to actually earn...

Ive done it a few different ways, to this point I have paid, but Id like to hear what people have done themselves..If you were an intern, did you receive any dollar value compensation and if you did, what was it based on ??

I'm not looking for free labor, as most new guys just slow everything down and make costly mistakes, but I want to be as fair as possible and not create any unnecessary resentment...

Thanks in advance..


CautiouslyOptimistic 10th November 2017 5:01 PM

Well, it's been many years since I had an internship, so I doubt I'll be much help.

When I was a senior in college, soon to graduate with a B.S. in Human Resource Management, I had an unpaid internship at a hospital through the college I attended, 2+ hours away from my home. I had no desire to seek employment with that hospital after my internship/graduation because I did not intend to stay in the area. It would have been nice to have been paid, but it wasn't a factor for me in accepting the internship.

From what you've said, I guess my only advice would be to do either/or:

1. Pay an "intern" but think of it more as an apprentice. Make connections with local technical schools to "snag" recent motivated grads. Maybe you could even develop a specific program with the technical school, where the kids could get some credit for a partnership with your company. Developing relationships with the career offices at your local colleges could also provide you with names of kids who are recent grads OR kids who have found college might not be quite for them (and are "dropping out"), but are good learners who would make good apprentices, willing to learn with your company. Contacting high school guidance offices will provide the same result. Not all kids want to go to college.

2. Unpaid internships. Not all internships are paid, and not all college kids expect that (although all would prefer it of course). Some will even be motivated without pay if they feel appreciated and/or sure that you'll provide them with a good recommendation or a possible job offer.

Just my two cents. :)

carhill 10th November 2017 5:02 PM

I apprenticed as a machinist in the 70's at an oil and gas shop which serviced primarily Chevron and Shell field operations. Is that what they call interning now? I was paid about 60% prevailing union wage for the first year and learned the trade from the chips up. Made my share of dumb mistakes but having a mechanical and engineering background I learned fast. Everyone is different in that regard. By the time I left the shop 8 or 9 years later I was training the apprentices so saw it from that side.

The way I see it now is everything is short term with little investment in long-term stability or results. That's why contracts and outsourcing are so common, as well as cherry-picking skilled labor from competitors instead of training from the bottom up.

Good on ya for still trying the old ways. IDK if they're feasible anymore.

jay1983 10th November 2017 5:03 PM

It depends on the field. My Pharmaceutical clinical paid $0. They were for a total of 3 months. That's for techs, I'm not sure how long it is for Pharmacist. When I worked in engineering, the intern engineers got paid, but they were there a lot longer. I don't know whether or not it was cost worthy for the company.

CautiouslyOptimistic 10th November 2017 5:04 PM


Originally Posted by jay1983 (Post 7463691)
It depends on the field. My Pharmaceutical clinical paid $0. They were for a total of 3 months. That's for techs, I'm not sure how long it is for Pharmacist. When I worked in engineering, the intern engineers got paid, but they were there a lot longer. I don't know whether or not it was cost worthy for the company.

When I was in college in the early 90s, my only friend who had a paid internship was a communications major. And she TOTALLY did not deserve it lol! She was very lazy :).

JustGettingBy 12th November 2017 7:01 PM

As someone who's had to take internships to make it to the 'three years minimum experience for an entry level job', I've found that myself, and many others I know are significantly less motivated than in a paid position. Think about it, would you work for free when the guy beside you is doing the same work, but making a living wage? If I had to be completely honest, the vast minority of interns get hired, anyway.

However, some colleges (at least where I'm from, not sure if its different for you) require students take a brief unpaid internship in order to graduate. If you can find someone like this, it might be a good idea.

robaday 14th November 2017 8:14 PM

The issue with unpaid internships is that only people from a certain background can afford to do them long term. In my experience, to afford to work for free for a magazine for instance in London to gain meaningful experience as a journalist you would have to have a significant amount of money saved up, yet the people doing the internships are generally young and perhaps fresh out of school/college. It is the same in the NGO sector where pay is notoriously bad and a lot of people will have had to work for free for long long periods to get their first shot.

While I can empathise with what you are saying and think it's great you want to deal with it in a fair way, I guess you have a choice in front of you - hire someone qualified and experienced and pay them more, or bring in interns and pay them less and train them up.

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