Internship, Graduate or Apprenticeship


Sydney Tafe

During last week I trotted off to give a talk on career directions in the local web industry to a group of high school students.

This got me thinking about the best fit for career directions in the web industry. Seems I’m not alone, Alex Graham also has the same concerns.

It basically comes down to:

  • Study at University or TAFE and then trying to get a job with limited experience.
  • Doing an apprenticeship, studying part time while getting real hands on experience.
  • Doing an internship in your final year.
  • Setting up your own business.

The one aspect that most graduating students don’t take into account is that they’re not immediately 100% productive. This means that someone has to closely supervise them (at best). This means effectively the business is down 1.5 people. For small business, that makes up most of the web industry, this can be a major cost burden, and if not managed right terminal.

So you can see why many web firms are preferring to merge or take on experienced practitioners over inexperienced graduates.

This would point towards the use of the apprenticeship model, but the low value of the apprentices wages n Australia makes it difficult to hold an apprentice in a high skill demand industry.

Again the internship with reduced pay rates, doesn’t work either. A graduate, with no experience, is just as likely to go off with a few mates and start their own web design firm.

Now, I don’t have any problem with people banding together to form their own business. However let’s please consider that those few years experience while working for someone else will allow a graduate to learn business skills, client communication skills, and the reality of how the web industry really works. These skills are extremely critical and are usually what makes to business fail or succeed in the first few years.

So what’s the solution. Does anyone have one?

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