internship / work placement / traineeship / apprenticeship

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Senior Member

I'm truly confused by the words internship / work placement / traineeship and apprenticeship.

I have looked through some of the threads on similar topics on this forum, but haven't found satisfactory explanation which should be used in what context.
I'd like to know whether some are used just for some groups of jobs.

e.g. A university student is doing an internship / an apprenticeship / a traineeship / a work placement at a shop in the summer and she is not a shop assistant there, but her duties resemble those of a secretary or an accountant and it is a part of her curriculum. Is she an intern / a trainee or an apprentice then?

Do we use 'apprenticeship' in reference to blue-collar workers and internship in reference to white-collar workers? Are traineeship and a work placement
used for all jobs?

Could you help me, please?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    In broad terms because there can be some overlap:

    internship - a position, usually unpaid, usually in a profession. that is designed to give the intern some experience of the profession and also to allow the employer to assess the intern as a prospective employee. (e.g. of a financial institution, accountancy, insurance (at a high level), etc.)
    work placement - as above but not in what would be regarded as a "profession".
    traineeship - a formal arrangement, paid, that is designed to give skills to a non-manual worker.
    apprenticeship. - - a formal arrangement, paid, that is designed to give skills to a manual worker - this is usually accompanied by examinations (often practical) and eventual acceptance into the trade.
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