How Do You Feel About Internships?

Business By weidertm24 Updated 28 Sep 2010 , 3:31am by scp1127

weidertm24 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 11:30pm
post #1 of 26

Just wondering how you bakery owners feel about hiring someone as an intern. I am very interested in getting into the cake business but I have no experience. I'm the type of person who likes to learn on hand and by watching others. Also if you think this would be acceptable how should I go about this? I know there are few cake shoppes around where I live so my resources would be limited.

Thanks in advance!

25 replies
indydebi Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:47am
post #2 of 26

I know jillmakescakes has used interns. you might PM her and get her input.

shanney54 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 2:39am
post #3 of 26

I'm glad that you started this thread because I have been wondering about that too! Would you mind posting what you find?

CWR41 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 4:00am
post #4 of 26

I think you'd be better off taking some classes to get experience.

Bakeries normally get interns that already possess applicable skills in order to complete their degree with a required number of apprenticeship hours. They aren't always willing to have extra hands around that requires them to teach the basics to especially during peak seasons when they really need helpers that have previous experience.

costumeczar Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:11pm
post #5 of 26

I work out of my home, and I get calls every week asking if I take interns. I don't, obviously, and I figure that anyone who has a clue would be able to figure that out. If you're going to cold-call businesses and ask about it just make sure that they're a large enough operation that they actually have a staff.

Also, keep in mind that an intern usually does the gruntwork, so it's not like I would get an intern and take them by the hand to teach them everything they want to learn. They'll probably let you wash a lot of dishes and screen a lot of email and phone calls. I think that sometimes people think that if I took them on as an intern I'd be teaching them fun stuff all day, and it doesn't work like that. It would probably be more productive for you if you took some calsses and then applied for a job as a decorator. You'd most likely get more hands-on cake time doing it that way.

tootie0809 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 2:17pm
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I work out of my home, and I get calls every week asking if I take interns. I don't, obviously, and I figure that anyone who has a clue would be able to figure that out. If you're going to cold-call businesses and ask about it just make sure that they're a large enough operation that they actually have a staff.

Also, keep in mind that an intern usually does the gruntwork, so it's not like I would get an intern and take them by the hand to teach them everything they want to learn. They'll probably let you wash a lot of dishes and screen a lot of email and phone calls. I think that sometimes people think that if I took them on as an intern I'd be teaching them fun stuff all day, and it doesn't work like that. It would probably be more productive for you if you took some calsses and then applied for a job as a decorator. You'd most likely get more hands-on cake time doing it that way.




Well said! I even have right on my website that I do not accept interns and am not hiring, and I still get emails and calls all the time. I work alone and run my business by myself. And yes, I get the impression all the time that it's high school or college girls who think it would be fun to learn all about cake decorating for free. Agree that the best thing to do would be to take classes, practice, learn everything you can on your own, and then aply as a decorator. I paid thousands of dollars to learn the things I know. I'm not going to give that away for free.

suesweet Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:02pm
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I work out of my home, and I get calls every week asking if I take interns. I don't, obviously, and I figure that anyone who has a clue would be able to figure that out. If you're going to cold-call businesses and ask about it just make sure that they're a large enough operation that they actually have a staff.

Also, keep in mind that an intern usually does the gruntwork, so it's not like I would get an intern and take them by the hand to teach them everything they want to learn. They'll probably let you wash a lot of dishes and screen a lot of email and phone calls. I think that sometimes people think that if I took them on as an intern I'd be teaching them fun stuff all day, and it doesn't work like that. It would probably be more productive for you if you took some calsses and then applied for a job as a decorator. You'd most likely get more hands-on cake time doing it that way.



Well said! I even have right on my website that I do not accept interns and am not hiring, and I still get emails and calls all the time. I work alone and run my business by myself. And yes, I get the impression all the time that it's high school or college girls who think it would be fun to learn all about cake decorating for free. Agree that the best thing to do would be to take classes, practice, learn everything you can on your own, and then aply as a decorator. I paid thousands of dollars to learn the things I know. I'm not going to give that away for free.




SIGH. What happened to each one teach one? Sadly, I have learned the hard way that most people are just not willing to help others or share knowledge. Yes, I realize that most of us have spent countless $ and hours learning our craft but why is it that so many feel indignant (or maybe threatened) when someone wants to learn from us (beyond the walls of cakecentral)? I understand being too busy to teach someone with NO experience but what about someone who truly shows promise who already has some experience and just wants to get better? About 6 months ago, I actually PM'd a user on here in my area and asked if she could use an intern, willing to do grunt work, and no response. I've been decorating over 3 years and clearly have some knowledge of what I'm doing and I figured it could be a win win situation. I'd learn some advanced techniques from an amazing decorator and she'd get FREE help doing things that would be a big time saver to her. I know I for one would love a deal like that if it came along...

And to the OP, yes you should know that interns (I was one) are usually given all the grunt work. It's sad really because (and this is in every field) interns are under utilized and are just viewed as free or cheap labor and given the jobs no one wants to do.

costumeczar Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:41pm
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by suesweet


SIGH. What happened to each one teach one? Sadly, I have learned the hard way that most people are just not willing to help others or share knowledge. Yes, I realize that most of us have spent countless $ and hours learning our craft but why is it that so many feel indignant (or maybe threatened) when someone wants to learn from us (beyond the walls of cakecentral)? I understand being too busy to teach someone with NO experience but what about someone who truly shows promise who already has some experience and just wants to get better? .




It's not necessarily that people don't want to share their knowledge, but people need to keep in mind that having an intern doesn't necessarily relieve you of a lot of work. It often creates more as you suddenly have someone else to manage and teach while you still have to get your regular work done. It's basically like having a free short-term employee. That's great on paper, but that employee still has to go through the training period that every new employee would, and soon after that you have to start all over with a new employee. That takes time, and not everyone has the time to devote to someone's free training.

I also work out of my home, like I mentioned before, so it isn't practical to have an intern. My work time is completely scattered, so there's no way to set a schedule. I'll be glad to teach people, but it will be at a time that I set and it will be at a class that they pay for icon_smile.gif

jason_kraft Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:33pm
post #9 of 26

Costumeczar has it right...if a business is not hiring interns, it doesn't mean they are "threatened", they just probably don't have the time or resources to take on a new employee, even an unpaid intern. If you want to get more experience making cakes and no one is hiring, take a few classes and practice on your own.

Also, in some states home-based commercial bakeries are not legally allowed to have employees who live outside the home, paid or not.

costumeczar Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:54pm
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Costumeczar has it right...if a business is not hiring interns, it doesn't mean they are "threatened", they just probably don't have the time or resources to take on a new employee, even an unpaid intern. If you want to get more experience making cakes and no one is hiring, take a few classes and practice on your own.

Also, in some states home-based commercial bakeries are not legally allowed to have employees who live outside the home, paid or not.




Heh heh, I don't know if I'm supposed to have employees or not, but if someone wants to intern with me they can come on over and do my laundry, take out the garbage and clean the bathrooms, which are some of the glamorous and super-fun things that I do in between cake stuff. That's part of the joy of working from home! icon_biggrin.gif

LindaF144a Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:04pm
post #11 of 26

It sounds like we are hearing here from people who are running small businesses out of their home and not from bigger size bakeries that may not be on CC.

I just had to respond and say that not everybody is looking to learn for free. I have taken every cake decorating course I can take in my area. The next step will be to travel to some. I don't want to work for someone so that I can learn for free, I want to get a job so I can do it. And yes I will learn along the way. No matter what the job, someone is always learning something new on the job. DH has learned a hell of a lot about blood testing in his new position. Prior to that we worked for a printer company. It's a good thing that those that hired him didn't think he wanted to work there to learn something for free. How is that different in this situation.

I have another friend who just started working for a major independently owned local jewelry company. She didn't go after the job to learn the jewelry business, she went because it was her passion, which is what I hope comes across when I try for an upcoming cake decorating spot. I am working feverishly to build a portfolio, and I know I have weak spots in it. I sure do hope that the owner does not think I want to work there to learn how to do things for free. I am just in a point in my life where I would like to have the kind of job where I wake up excited to get to work. Starting my own business is not financially possible, or even something I want to do.

This will be my third opportunity. The first time I refused to use my own car for deliveries, a decision I regret now. The second time I did not have a portfolio. I am not making the same mistake the third time. I just hope it is strong enough to be given the chance.

I am so sorry for the typos. I use my iPad and it has the strangest way of auto correcting.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:12pm
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

Prior to that we worked for a printer company. It's a good thing that those that hired him didn't think he wanted to work there to learn something for free. How is that different I this situation.



The difference in this situation is that the skills needed to succeed in cake decorating are not easily transferable from other industries and are difficult to practice on your own sustainably.

You can read at home about printers and how they work and have a good enough understanding of the technology to hit the ground running. You can read about cake decorating and working with fondant all you want, but until you start practicing on real cake you will never get any better.

Apprenticeship programs where interns build their skills by working with master craftsmen for little or no pay have existed in one form or another since the Middle Ages.

LindaF144a Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:19pm
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

Prior to that we worked for a printer company. It's a good thing that those that hired him didn't think he wanted to work there to learn something for free. How is that different I this situation.


The difference in this situation is that the skills needed to succeed in cake decorating are not easily transferable from other industries and are difficult to practice on your own sustainably.

You can read at home about printers and how they work and have a good enough understanding of the technology to hit the ground running. You can read about cake decorating and working with fondant all you want, but until you start practicing on real cake you will never get any better.

Apprenticeship programs where interns build their skills by working with master craftsmen for little or no pay have existed in one form or another since the Middle Ages.




Uh no. My DH has his master in CS. You can not hit the ground running at the level he has. You are aiming way too low here. And frankly I find that statement ridiculous.

And yes the skills for cake decorating are easily transferrable. Just last night on Challenge two of the assistants were sculptors. I believe that if someone is skilled in working with their hand in other art mediums, they can do well in cake decorating.

Duh on the cake thing. Anyone can buy fondant at your local craft store. There is more to cake decorating than that.

And thank god this is not the middle ages any more. Thst is comparing apples to oranges IMO.

I'm not getting your point at all, other than you like to argue your point to death all the time, whether you are right or not.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:28pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

And yes the skills for cake decorating are easily transferrable. Just last night on Challenge two of the assistants were sculptors. I believe that if someone is skilled in working with their hand in other art mediums, they can do well in cake decorating.



That's a good point...although sculpting is another industry where much of the experience is gained through apprenticeships.

Quote:
Quote:

I'm not getting your point at all, other than you like to argue your point to death all the time, whether you are right or not.



You asked how the cake decorating business is different from working with printers, I was giving my opinion. As you've seen, it's difficult to get hired in this business without a portfolio showing your work. If you can find a paid position to help you build your skills, that's great, but for most people the choice is between working an unpaid internship (which only costs you your time) and making cakes on your own (which costs you time and a non-trivial amount of money).

In the computer science field, the tools necessary to learn on your own are very inexpensive and often free. Of course once you past a certain point specialized experience becomes important, but we're talking about getting your foot in the door here, not master's level work.

And yes, I do like arguing my point, as long as others respond with their own points instead of ad hominem attacks. That's why I participate in a discussion group. icon_smile.gif

scp1127 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 10:17pm
post #15 of 26

That "free intern" has to be covered under a workers comp policy. Business owners do not have to have a policy for themselves, but they do for others. That would mean a policy for just the intern. So a free intern can slip and fall and now there is a lawsuit. Personal assets get involved and I am sure there are penalties for no WC policy.

costumeczar Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:06pm
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

It sounds like we are hearing here from people who are running small businesses out of their home and not from bigger size bakeries that may not be on CC.

I just had to respond and say that not everybody is looking to learn for free. .. It's a good thing that those that hired him didn't think he wanted to work there to learn something for free. How is that different in this situation.




But you're talking about someone looking for a paid job, which is different from someone looking for an internship. Interships are set up so that you do learn for free...Of course, the business owner gets the value of the work that you do, but it isn't as easy as that if you're the owner. I'd point to the things that other people have noted, like the insurance to back that up.

I do think that people who are looking for internships have a good intention, but they probably don't realize that it takes work to train an intern. They're going into it from a different perspective than the person who hires them.

I also know some local people who do take interns, but they use them as basically free slave labor. There's one person who isn't a very good decorator, but he takes interns from cake decorating programs so that he can use the skills that they have. They won't end up learning a bit from him, but he sure does benefit from them being able to decorate better than he does! It's not always beneficial to the intern.

CWR41 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:19am
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

That "free intern" has to be covered under a workers comp policy. Business owners do not have to have a policy for themselves, but they do for others. That would mean a policy for just the intern. So a free intern can slip and fall and now there is a lawsuit. Personal assets get involved and I am sure there are penalties for no WC policy.




Not in all states. Business owners do not have to have a policy for others in some states, and there are no penalties where it isn't required.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:33am
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

That "free intern" has to be covered under a workers comp policy. Business owners do not have to have a policy for themselves, but they do for others. That would mean a policy for just the intern. So a free intern can slip and fall and now there is a lawsuit. Personal assets get involved and I am sure there are penalties for no WC policy.



Not in all states. Business owners do not have to have a policy for others in some states, and there are no penalties where it isn't required.



Learn something new every day...I thought it was required in all states. Here is a list of workers comp info by state:
http://www.ic.nc.gov/ncic/pages/all50.htm

Even if it's not required, having worker's comp coverage is still a very good idea, since in all states you are held personally liable for your employees' and interns' on-the-job injuries.

CWR41 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:08am
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Learn something new every day...I thought it was required in all states.




I believe that you and I have gone over this already. I'm surprised how quickly it was forgotten. (I guess that means you don't hold a grudge!) thumbs_up.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Even if it's not required, having worker's comp coverage is still a very good idea, since in all states you are held personally liable for your employees' and interns' on-the-job injuries.




"could be" held liable in court.

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:51am
post #20 of 26

There is a liability of someone getting hurt in your home which is covered under your homeowners policy. If someone is hurt at your home while working for you in a commercial kitchen in your home and you are not properly covered, your insurance may not pay. And if this is a storefront, you don't need workers comp? The only time I have heard of not needing wc is if the person is an independent contractor with a business license of their own. How do these places deal with injured employees if there is no comp in your state?

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:56am
post #21 of 26

So jasonkraft, those states not requiring a wc policy just hold the owners responsible and the employer had better protect him/herself? I have only had employees in MD, VA, and WV, and there was a policy in effect in each state.

CWR41 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:59am
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

How do these places deal with injured employees if there is no comp in your state?




WC is available in all states, however, it isn't required in all states if you have fewer than a certain number of employees.

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 2:04am
post #23 of 26

I get that it is not required, but who pays for the injured employee? Is it up to the employer to have a private policy or are the employers personally liable? I have only done business in three states. I can't imagine having an employee get hurt with no insurance. Who pays the hospital bills? I know you are right, but someone has to pay.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 2:19am
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

So jasonkraft, those states not requiring a wc policy just hold the owners responsible and the employer had better protect him/herself? I have only had employees in MD, VA, and WV, and there was a policy in effect in each state.



If a state does not require a WC policy and an employee or intern gets injured at an employer without WC coverage, I don't think the state would get involved at all (aside from the judicial system in the case of a lawsuit). Even when the employer has a WC policy, the transaction would be between the employee and the WC insurer, the state would only get involved (by fining the employer) if WC was required and the employer did not have it.

The employee or intern, upon hearing that WC was not available, would either file a claim with their own health insurance policy (if any) and/or sue the employer. The employer would be responsible for paying the medical bills out of pocket if and only if the employee can prove negligence on the part of the employer, but the employer may still be held partially liable depending on the circumstances of the injury. The employee can also recover "pain and suffering" damages and punitive damages if the situation warrants.

If the employer has WC coverage and the employee is covered under the WC policy, the employee cannot sue the employer in the case of an on-the-job accident.

We pay ~$400/year for a WC policy that covers only our unpaid intern. WC is one of those things that most people will probably never need, but if you don't have it, a single accident can potentially ruin your business.

Source: http://www.workerscompensationlawfirms.com/workplace-injury-claims/slip-and-fall-injuries.htm

jason_kraft Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 2:22am
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I get that it is not required, but who pays for the injured employee? Is it up to the employer to have a private policy or are the employers personally liable? I have only done business in three states. I can't imagine having an employee get hurt with no insurance. Who pays the hospital bills? I know you are right, but someone has to pay.



If the employer has WC, the WC policy underwriter pays.

If the employer does not have WC, the employee pays (either through their own insurance or out of pocket) and then sues the employer to recover the costs.

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 3:31am
post #26 of 26

jasonkraft, that's what I thought. So back to my original statement... that a free employee is not free. There is either cost in the form of insurance, or the gamble with employer assets. Thanks jasonkraft, some of us know that you and others like costumeczar are full of good info. I am no stranger to business ownership, just the bakery business is still new to me. My insurances are in place. I even went so far as to get FDA approval.

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