Archive for April, 2009

Graduates who take part in unpaid placements will be allowed to continue to claim job seekers allowance.

The Government has announced anyone on an unpaid placements for up to 13 weeks will be allowed to continue claiming job seekers allowance. The clause will begin after the person has been claiming dole monies for 6 months in efforts to find them employment.

Continue reading ‘Graduates who take part in unpaid placements will be allowed to continue to claim job seekers allowance.’

Interns and business during the recession

The UK finds itself in the grips of a recession which shows no sign of passing any time soon and so businesses must ask themselves: is it the right time to use interns?

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A wage for all workers

Though I understand what motivates skilled graduates to take unpaid work, and that NGOs, the public sector, private companies (and pretty much everyone these days) take on interns to produce results within tight budgets, I believe that if these employers genuinely can’t afford to pay all of their workers they should face up to their fate and either downsize or go under! If not, they should be paying workers according to the law at national minimum wage. Continue reading ‘A wage for all workers’

Over two years since intern investigation

It is over two years since the Guardian carried an article saying MPs faced an enquiry for allegedly breaking the minimum wage laws by hiring young people as unpaid interns to work in the offices in parliament and their constituencies.

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Tom Leonard: It now costs a small fortune to work for nothing

Paying for the right to work for nothing is one of the more interesting economic concepts to have come out of this downturn. Time was in the US when spring would come and a young man’s fancy turned lightly to thoughts of a summer internship. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students migrate to the big cities over the long break to get their first step on the career ladder with a few weeks of negligibly (if at all) remunerated filing, dogsbodying and sporadic sexual harassment.


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The Silent Brains

I seem to have spent most of my teenage years volunteering for a charity though only got the chance to be an intern during my second year at university. Prior to arriving in Westminster, I’d heard numerous horror stories from previous interns though on reflection I believe experience of being a Parliamentary intern seems to have been rather better than some. The MP I was to be a general slave for was a ‘nice enough chap’ and we kind of took to each other the minute we met.

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What school of ‘workie’ are you?

Last week I got a text from a friend who is also trying to make it in the journalism game:

“Oh my god. Have you seen the work experience guy who’s written Charlie Brooker’s column in G2 today? The last thing we need!” Work experience is a funny thing. When you’re 16, it’s a week-off school. But when you’re trying to get a job in an industry a zillion others want to work in (and just as many are being made redundant from), a work placement becomes a shop window - a chance for you to show-off how employable you are. And boy can it be frustrating when someone does better than you or gets an opportunity you don‘t. Lucky Tom Meltzer… bugger.

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No Prime Minister

Dear Gordon Brown,

I’m getting increasingly furious about the ill-informed and misguided belief in internships as a holy grail of employment prospects. While internships may be a necessary requirement for permanent employment, they do not guarantee it. In my experience, internships are a mere tool of exploitation that benefit only one party – the employer. Moreover, not only do internships not necessarily lead to permanent employment, they are also far from easy to get. I have had enough of people of my parents’ generation advising young people to simply do an internship to increase their job prospects. In today’s fierce graduate job market, an internship is almost as valuable as a paid job and my personal experience has been that many internships have around 300 applicants per post.

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Public Affairs Links: Internships the best route in to public affairs

Public affairs - sometimes known as government affairs, lobbying or government relations - is typical of professional communications industries. Agencies and in-house teams tend to be relatively small units of no more than thirty people, and rarely have the resources available to undertake full blown graduate schemes. As a result, the internship route tends to be the best chance for a first-timer looking for work.

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A review of MPs expenses

A section of Harriet Harman’s written announcement on MP’s expenses reads:

“In future all staff appointed by MPs without exception should become direct employees of the House of Commons, which would become centrally responsible for their employment terms and conditions, their contracts, and the payment of their salaries within the limit allowed - and will have the right to make an independent assessment of such contracts. The Committee on Standards in Public Life is examining the rules governing employment of spouses or other relatives.”

Does this include interns and unpaid parliamentary researchers? What are the implications for those on expenses only wages if employment terms and conditions are to be controlled by the House of Commons?

Tom Meltzer: The role of a work experience person…

There is a crucial difference between work experience and work. Work is being productive for money. Work experience is being useless for free. At least it was the first few times. With six placements under my belt, I finally understand how to make sense of it. Like most things in life, it’s basically an elaborate bluff.

Continue reading ‘Tom Meltzer: The role of a work experience person…’

Internship Glass Ceiling

I graduated from university three years ago and have since accrued two post-grad degrees.  I have had four (count ‘em - FOUR) internships - including Parliament, US Congress, and a couple nonprofits - and I am still unemployed.  The biggest problem I have with most internship programs is they don’t necessarily offer advancement into the same organization - an intern should be able to move into an entry-level position in the same company (without being rejected for not having enough experience) - or the intern coordinators ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOB.

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