Thursday, 13 October 2016

Externships vs Internship – Singapore

Externships are pretty common in America and Europe but hardly anyone has ever heard of them in Asia. Most people in Singapore (including myself), have probably never heard of the term externships. Do we have externships in Singapore? How are externships like in Singapore? Are externships in Singapore worth undertaking? These questions would be addressed shortly.

Do we have externships in Singapore? 
Apparently, externships do exist in Singapore, though you will probably not find any information related to externships in Singapore through a google search or any search engine for that matter. Certain school programmes do offer work shadowing programmes at secondary school level for young students to have a slight taste on how it is like in the working world and it is also possible to write in to organisations, requesting for an externship over the school break. Though, it is not recommended to use the term externship in writing the email or letter as the recipient might not know what an externship is. Basically a short working stint at a company is considered an externship. But the term job-shadowing would probably be a preferred term used.

Recently, online talent recruitment startup - Glints, has announced that externships are available from their site though it seems not possible to find or obtain the term externships specifically as mentioned earlier, the term externships itself is not common in Singapore. But it is worth a try, to leave a message requesting for an externship.

How are externships like in Singapore?
Referring back to the very first post, externships are in short periods of about 1 to 6 weeks. Thus, students should not have extremely high expectations. It is highly unlikely that the extern would play a major role in huge projects. However, students would get to experience greater work exposure as compared to internships where students will be conformed to a specific role.

Are externships in Singapore worth undertaking? 
For full-time students, an externship would be much more convenient as compared to a full-time internship role. With school commitments, flexibility is pretty important and this is what externships offer. This is in line with the government’s efforts in incorporating studying and job training in order to better prepare students for the workforce. Externships in particular, would be suitable for younger students aged 15-18 who are interested in the working world.

Though many would think that externships are frowned upon due to their short duration, companies are understanding and more open minded to such programmes as they would be able to tap on talent and fresh ideas that externs can contribute. Externs are a helping hand at the workplace and building positive relations can lead to full-time or part time opportunities in future. Thus, externships are suitable for students from any level.

Disclaimer: This is a work for the sole purpose of an academic project. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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