Work Experience and Internships –...

Work Experience and Internships – What’s Available for High Schoolers

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In high school, and sometimes even earlier, many students start to look for summer jobs to earn money and to learn something about working for a living. Sometimes, however, high school students can get involved in special work experience projects and internships. These types of experiences can be very valuable for teaching students the skills they need for the future in settings that help them use these skills later in life.

Both work experience and internships can be valuable for students who want to start preparing for the future. People sometimes confuse “work experience” and “internship,” since they can often appear to be the same. However, work experience is normally for a shorter period than an internship, and it is usually unpaid. Although many internships are also unpaid, traditionally the expectation was that internships included at least a small salary to help participants pay their bills while they were in the program.

Work experience and internships normally involve both practical and theoretical work. It tends to be very practical, with students following workers around to see the job first-hand. Students in these programs might be given projects to complete so that their supervisors can test their progress. For example, a student working at a veterinarian’s office might compile information on certain types of animals, including common illnesses and best treatments.

Almost any business, school, or government office might have work experience programs or internships, However, some of them are specifically designed to help high school students get the experience they need to help them in their future careers.

The Crimson Education website lists some of the internships available to high school students in Canada. One example is the SickKids’ Student Advancement in Research (StAR) Internship. This program works through the University of Toronto to help students learn about medical research and to complete a project that uses the skills that they have gained.

Hamilton also has a summer student program that accepts students aged fourteen or older to learn skills such as communication, collaboration, and time management. Meanwhile, the students also have a chance to meet with potential employers and to receive an assessment of both their strengths and areas that need improvement.

Although many internships are local, some are open to students from any part of the country. The House of Commons Youth Opportunities program gives high school students the chance for paid internships in areas including computer science, engineering, graphic design, accounting, and many other fields. Students should be at least sixteen years old to participate in this program.

Many other parts of the country also have opportunities to learn special skills. In British Columbia, for example, Level One of the Youth Employment Program is open to students who have registered for high school in the past six months. The Manitoba government has a High School Apprenticeship Program for the trades, and Saskatchewan has the Saskatchewan Youth Internship Program, also related to the trades. Many other programs are available across the country.

Being part of a work experience program or internship might seem difficult, but it can be worth the effort. You can already start to look for opportunities wherever you live.



Crimson Education. “10 Summer Internship Opportunities for Canadian High School Students.” https://www.crimsoneducation.org/ca/blog/internships-for-high-school-students/.

Government of British Columbia. “Youth Employment Program.”  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/job-seekers/internship-co-op-opportunities/youth-employment-program.

Government of Canada. “Students and Graduates—Young Canada Works.” https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/young-canada-works/students-graduates.html.

Government of Manitoba. “Youth Apprenticeship Programs.” https://www.gov.mb.ca/aesi/apprenticeship/discover/youth/index.html.

Indeed. “10 Student Internships You Can Consider (With Benefits).” https://ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/student-internships.

Saskatoon Industry Education Council. “Saskatchewan Youth Internship Program.” https://saskatooniec.ca/syip/.

Student World Online. “The Difference Between Work Experience, Internships and Volunteering.” https://www.studentworldonline.com/article/the-difference-between-work-experience-internships-/162/.

University of Waterloo. “Enrichment Programs for High School and Elementary Students.” https://uwaterloo.ca/future-students/visit-waterloo/high-school-enrichment-programs.

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