Entry-level opportunities, what are the options?

As a college or university student, you’ll often come across opportunities that are targeted towards someone like you. Often you’ll read in job descriptions that such opportunity are best suited for students or recent graduates.

For some, you might be looking for something to keep you busy or gain you some experience. So, depending on what stage you are in your tertiary education, here are the options you might try to focus on.

Industrial Attachment

Industrial Attachment are on work opportunities meant for continuing students. Those undertaking industrial attachment program are referred to as attachés.

This program can be part-time if offered during a university semester and full-time if offered during the long holiday, when they typically last between two to three months.

Attachment programs rarely attract any compensation.


An internship on the other hand is a work opportunity offered to either continuing students on long holiday, students awaiting graduation or recent graduates. Such employees are called interns, and they work for a fixed, limited period of time.

Most internships last for any length of time between two months to 12 months. They are usually targeted on recent graduates who are yet to get any formal employment and the emphasis is usually on training on the corporate culture, rather than employment itself.

Internships offer students a period of a wider practical experience in the industry relating to their field of study.

Internships are mostly unpaid but some offer stipend to cover some expenses incurred during the internship period.

Why do an Internship?

An internship provides a great opportunity for prospective employees to gain experience in a particular field or industry, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain university module credits. Interns may also have the possibility of putting themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work, during their internship.

Internships are supposed to be educational and teach interns hands-on skills that they won’t learn in a classroom.

Graduate Trainee Programs

Graduate Trainee opportunities which are meant for recent graduates and are usually full-time and mostly run for a year. Such opportunities usually lead to full-time employment being offered after completion.

Trainee programs put an emphasis on learning the ins and outs of the role you’ll be placed in after completion of the program. The learning experience is usually targeted on the core responsibilities involved in the chosen career path.

Trainee roles usually are paid below the market rates, just enough to cover the daily expenses and upkeep.

Now that you have an idea of what student jobs might look like, you’re better placed to pick what to apply for your current stage in life.

Any of these experiences can be added to your resume or CV.

Depending on your performance in any of the roles described above, employers usually use these opportunities to shortlist prospects for full-time employment.

The prospect of hiring ex-interns or attaches is appealing to employers because a candidate who has spent time working for a firm within a particular industry shows dedication to a particular career, enthusiasm for a particular job and importantly, has experience.

If you apply for a full-time employment in a company you interned/attached at, the chances of being shortlisted will be high as you’ll already have an understanding of the company and the job you will be doing and you’ll require little or no training.

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