Posts Tagged 'internships in london'

Government to create National Internship Database

Responding to middle class fears that their children are being shut out from many professions (Law, Finance, Accountancy, the Media etc), the government has announced the creation of a National Internship Database (NID) – a one-stop-shop for every unemployed graduate’s needs.

Quite where this differs from previous announcements about a national internship scheme is anyone’s guess, and I am sure none of the work placements proposed have taken into account the problems we have mentioned on this site.

  • How does creating a national database of internships solve the problem that most will be located in London and therefore only open to those who live there already or can afford to live there for months without pay?
  • Does this policy address the fact that most internships break current employment laws in that they don’t pay NMW?
  • If NMW isn’t paid… how are prospective interns going to afford these placements? Financed by a bankrupt state? Unlikely. I suspect they will follow the Milburn suggestion of making loans available for graduates. But with no guarantee of a job at the end of it, and not even an assurance of proper training, would this be £2000 well spent?

“Internship” – formally a buzzword for employers to justify cutting an entry-level position, now the inspiration for a policy dreamt up by clueless politicians. But that’s just my opinion.

Are internships the answer to our problems?

Work experience or work exploitation?

A common theme in the experiences featured on this website is the tension between offering opportunities to young people and exploiting them.

The University of Westminster has waded into this debate, by publishing a survey showing the vast majority of university students in London feel exploited during their work experience placements.  

The headline figures are striking.

  • 71% of students said they felt unfulfilled by their work experience placements. Common tasks cited were filing, scanning, photocopying, answering telephones, and making tea.
  • 60% of those interviewed said that their work experience was not beneficial in any way. 
  • 90% of those surveyed had worked for free, and of those, 77% were not compensated for their expenses.

Hardly indicative of a system that equips young people with the experience needed to get jobs in a recession.  One student commented, “I have done several placements, all have been unpaid. Of these placements, two promised to reimburse my expenses- one took 2 months to fulfil this and the other never returned my calls after promising £5 per day for my full-time placement.”

Despite the fact that this was probably in clear breach of the NMW regulations, tardiness in paying meager expenses is terrible. Even if you work for free, you deserve to be treated with respect.

Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story.


Interns Anonymous accept no responsibility for the contents of the blog, comments or any other content on this site that is posted or provided by third parties. This website is designed to act as a forum for interns to share experiences and opinions about their work, therefore, we will not censor opinions we do not agree with. The opinions stated in blog contributions do not represent those of Interns Anonymous. We disclaim all liability for such content to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have any queries please email us.

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