Internships after you graduate

Last updated: 6 Sept 2023, 14:05

If you haven't found a job straight after university, find out about graduate management programmes, internships for graduates, and your rights as an intern.


If you have already graduated and are finding it hard to get onto the career ladder, casual or temporary jobs are a good way to gain experience while looking for something more permanent. Never underestimate any work experience you have done. Instead, find a way of showing what you learned from it and how you can bring those skills to roles that you are applying for after university.

There are several organisations that provide opportunities to get work experience after you graduate, and even provide management training as part of the programme. There are also an increasing number of schemes aimed at providing graduates with internships (paid or unpaid) to bridge the gap between leaving university and finding their first graduate job.

Graduate management programmes

Internships for graduates

Historically, graduate employers offered internships to students during university but internships after graduation are now increasingly available (and not always from traditional ‘graduate employers’). Many of these are formalised through government programmes that link graduates with employers. The benefit to employers is the chance to get a well-qualified and motivated workforce when their permanent recruitment is being frozen because of financial constraints. The benefits for you are a chance to learn about life in a particular job or sector while developing employability skills that will help your future job applications.

Internships are often easier to find during a downturn than full-time jobs, as companies that are struggling to afford permanent staff may hire interns to help them to tackle excess workload. These can be an excellent way to gain experience and new skills in a challenging jobs market. However, some internship schemes have been controversial, and you need to weigh up whether a particular placement will give you the skills that you need.

Your rights and benefits as an intern

All interns in Ireland have basic employment rights, including the right to adequate breaks and holidays and the right to join a union. Eligibility for the national minimum wage depends on the nature of your work and relationship with the organisation providing the internship. Official internship or work experience schemes may be exempt from minimum wage laws.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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