Archive for the 'Employment' Category

Guardian article: The eternal Intern? No Thanks

Rachel Bowen has written an article for the Guardian on her internship experiences.

As my European experience draws to an end and I reflect on my year as an intern, I can only feel angry that despite gaining valuable experience, I appear to be as unemployable as when I graduated last summer. I am not doubting the value of internships – I know I have learned useful skills and more about my own capabilities in the past year than I did in 16 years of education, and I am immensely grateful to all the people who have given me a chance to prove myself and provided an insight into different careers. What I am concerned about is that internships are simply seen as another hoop for already debt-ridden graduates to jump through and that, although they may lead to higher future returns later in a career, from where I stand at the moment they seem to stall rather than launch that career.

But enough is enough; I have made a promise to myself that my days as an intern are over. I am no longer prepared, and I cannot afford, to let my skills be exploited for free. I am ready for a real challenge, real responsibility and perhaps most important, a real salary …

I’d be interested to know if her frustration is shared by other interns- let us know!

If people want to work unpaid, we shouldn’t stop them

I have read some of the articles about interns and I do agree that you need resources to be able to do an unpaid internship for any length of time and this does discriminate against less privileged members of society. However, in my area of work with international students, we find that internships are so important to them, they will save money from their student jobs and do menial jobs at weekends, whilst doing placements, in order to be able to fund the experience.

It is increasingly evident that without experience, it is very difficult to get career progression, particularly in industries like the Arts, Media, Finance etc. Unpaid experience is often the only way to bolster a C.V. and give the graduate a chance to get on the first rung of their chosen career ladder. Large companies do have structured placement schemes and many can afford to pay minimum wage, but for most small and medium sized enterprises, paying an intern is beyond their budget. Employers also feel that time is needed to dedicate to raw recruits and that the experience they will have will be invaluable and build up much needed practical knowledge, work skills and understanding of business.

Continue reading ‘If people want to work unpaid, we shouldn’t stop them’

Worcester University develops new paid internship scheme

The Independent has published an article about Worcester University’s new paid internship scheme. Graduates get paid to do 4 days a week interning in a local business and spend the other day gaining a qualification in business. Good thinking from the Vice Chancellor David Green- he managed to channel money from various funds into this scheme, whilst the government are still umming and aaahhing- rather than acting. The scheme allows students to get work experience, an extra qualification and to avoid further…debt. 


Clever David Green- Vice Chancellor of Worcester Uni

Clever David Green- Vice Chancellor of Worcester Uni

What tangible things can employers offer unpaid interns short of a salary?

I’ve just finished a year in which I did a good deal of unpaid work after graduating in July 2008. I’ve now been offered full-time employment and have realised that I’ve gained an awful lot from interning (it is a verb by now, isn’t it?) and believe it was worth much more than an MA in my case.

However, there are too many examples of employers offering the interns very little apart from the name of the organisation on one’s CV. Take this as an example. Filing? Booking flights? Expenses claims? Basically, they can’t afford another decent full or part-time administrator which they clearly need. And there’s no mention of expenses. Shame on UNHCR.

Continue reading ‘What tangible things can employers offer unpaid interns short of a salary?’

Surely this is illegal? Or The Intern Industry keeps growing…

It should come as no surprise that in the same month that thousands of graduates are jettisoned from university into a fierce recession companies like ‘InternStar’ are being launched. Their reason for being: to find unpaid work experience for graduates without any prospect of work/ to find cheap labour for struggling businesses.

InternStar connects quality interns to internship opportunities in small- and medium-sized British businesses with exclusive access to some of the most ambitious and talented university candidates, young graduates and postgraduates.”

Continue reading ‘Surely this is illegal? Or The Intern Industry keeps growing…’

Maybe we’re looking at working for free from the wrong angle?

When you work normally you’re paid in money.  When you work for free you need to be paid in some other kind of currency - and I think it’s important that you make sure that this happens.  But the question is what kind of currency that should be.

Continue reading ‘Maybe we’re looking at working for free from the wrong angle?’

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.

Continue reading ‘No Prime Minister’

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.

The potential rewards

When I left university I thought that I would have it easy, get a good job, move on with my life but a year and a half later I was still unemployed and demoralised.

Continue reading ‘The potential rewards’

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