Apprenticeship vs. Internship

There has been a ton of good information from professionals being put out in the last month or so, and I thought maybe I could spark a discussion about what I’ve been curious about in the employment world.

Lately I’ve been hearing some rumors that a few large design studios have contacted the director of my school and would like to start finding interns that are much younger in their schooling career. It’s pretty rare for anyone to get an internship earlier than 3rd or 4th studio semester at AAU and I’m curious what you guys think about hiring interns that still have a lot of developing to do. From a student’s perspective this sounds fantastic, but I’ve been fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s been discussed recently and would like another perspective! What’s your experience with this? Thoughts? What sort of things would you look for with a portfolio that’s only comprised of 1-2 freshman/sophomore level projects?

For students that are very early in there design education. I think the things most employers look for is: Drive and determination. That’s usually evident, by their attention to detail.

If your putting the effort in to make sure your portfolio is clean and well presented. Everything lines up, no stray markings on pages. Sketches are cleaned up. Consistent typography. No spelling errors, then employees will have a bit more confidence that you’ll show the same attention at work.

Another thing is work that differentiates yourself from your classmates. Biggest problem with 2nd-3rd years students (especially at UC) looking for internships is that all their projects are the same. You and your classmates have all had the exact same prompts and exact same deliverable. So employees start getting a bit bored after the 3rd or 4th time seeing the same project. Students who go above and beyond and do additional side projects always stand out. Again another way to show your drive and passion is to do work outside of studio. Especially if the work is directly related to the interview company.

Final thing. Is showing proficiency in Adobe programs. Does it look like you know your way around Illustrator? At this point your sketching may not be top notch. But your illustrator should be up to standard.

Final note. At this level employers aren’t going to be asking you to CAD too much. But they might ask you to help out with Keyshot and cleaning up renders. So showing your understanding of that workflow is a plus.

Your title is a bit confusing, but if you are talking about interns, the one we had this last summer was a fine fellow who just completed his first year.

His primary duty was secondary research but he also assisted in model making, light assembly (I had a few hundred prototypes made for testing), highly supervised primary research and concept development (sketching).

I would agree with Sain, drive and determination are a good measure with someone who has little to no experience. Extracurriculars are a good sign of someone who is eager to learn and contribute. I want to see above and beyond the minimum. You joining IDSA is OK. You joining IDSA, organizing a fundraiser to go a conference and handling the logistics of the trip for you and your classmates would be much better.

Sorry about the title! I guess what I’m calling an apprenticeship is a student that is hired as an intern and is pretty underdeveloped; Versus what I consider a standard intern whom is probably in their 3rd or 4th year, and requires much less ‘supervision’ .