Difference Between Internship and Industrial Attachment

‘Internship’ and ‘attachment’ are words you are bound to encounter while in university or college. To some, depending on the country, they are synonymous while to others they are totally different. Regardless, a thin line separates the two, based on one important aspect; the position of the student.


An internship is an opportunity to work in a company or organization, with or without pay for a certain period, usually 6 to 12 months, in order to acquire skills and work experience and for some professions such as medicine, it’s part of being qualified. Normally, supervision by a professional in the field is a requirement.

The position of the students who mostly take up internships is either a finalist or graduate. Graduates and finalists have completed their academic responsibilities and are yet to be employed. They thus take internships to acquire work experience and become employable.

Employers that hire interns benefit from the free or cheap services offered by interns and the ease in recruiting interns who have known capabilities thus saving money and time in the end.

Meanwhile, interns benefit through; valuable experience, potential employment, recommendations for other employment opportunities and having time to determine whether they love the profession or would want to change. Having an internship report, for instance, can improve your chance during job searching.

Industrial Attachment

An attachment, also known as an industrial attachment is an opportunity for a continuing student to work in a professional work environment, apply learned knowledge and acquire real work experience. Attachments can be compulsory for completion of the academic curriculum of a diploma, degree or master’s course and thus credit-bearing.

Industrial attachments take 2 to 4 months and employers rarely pay for them. University students are required to attend work under the supervision of a professional and record their daily activities in an industrial attachment logbook. Some institutions might require students to write a separate attachment report generalizing the entire project.

These reports are then signed weekly by professional supervisors who also give comments on the performance of the trainees. A supervising lecture is then required to visit the students in their place of work at least once to confirm attendance, ask work-related questions, comment and sign the reports. During the semester that follows, the reports are collected marked and credits allocated.

Distinct differences between an internship and an industrial attachment.

Internship Industrial Attachment
For Graduates and Finalists For Continuing Students
6-12 months 2-4 months
Noncredit-bearing Credit-bearing
Higher Pay      (If available) Lower Pay (If available)
No supervision by academic staff Supervision by faculty staff
Requirement for employment Requirement for graduation


Despite the above differences, internships and attachments are synonymous based on the nature of operations.

  1. Both provide trainees with real professional work experience
  2. Both require trainees to work under a professional
  3. Both contribute to a student’s resume although internship accomplishments are more impactful.
  4. Both are temporary and there is no surety of employment after completion.
  5. Both can be either paid or unpaid, part-time or fulltime.
  6. Both provide a student with the chance to determine their interest in the profession.

Internships and industrial attachments are essential programs that help youths transition from the educational spectrum to the professional world. Since they involve actual practical learning unlike traditional classroom learning, they provide a transitional experience, that’s instrumental for their professional lives.

Some of these benefits include;

  1. Meeting Professionals who can mentor you
  2. Building networks which open doors in the future
  3. Learning to work in a team in order to achieve common goals
  4. Chance to showcase knowledge, skills and work ethic
  5. Narrow in on your career choices, choose a field you are passionate about, avoid sad careers.
  6. Achieve personal learning objectives without the responsibilities of being an employee
  7. Learn new practical skills and gain confidence in your abilities
  8. Become a potential employee based on your performance
  9. Apply knowledge and contribute to the organization or company.

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