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A student’s view on paying for internships

Karl Booton gives his opinion on yesterday’s news in Recruiter magazine:. ‘Interns willing to pay for work experience’ .

“Firstly, let’s start with the fact over the fiction: jobs, contrary to popular belief, are not easy to come by. Competition is tough: a degree is no longer the ‘Golden Ticket’ to a job in the way it perhaps once was. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, internships are also not easy to come by.

So enter, the latest voice to join the fray in the recent internships debate.

The website is the brainchild of some Faustian fellow who devised that, given the current global financial crisis: one in which jobs are the hardest they have ever been to come by, a climate in which students and graduates are both required (and willing) to work for free in order to gain skills essential for employment; and a market where there is fierce competition to get even that first foot inside the door, a greedy individual theorised that interns would pay for the privilege of working for free.

Interns using can expect to pay on average of £60 a day for their work experience; although they could, in some cases, pay as much as a staggering £200 a day. The site’s CEO, however, insists that its service is “cheap”.

The site proposes to be a response to the “pent-up demand” for internships: its fees a mere pittance for the expertise learnt at the knees of professionals. However, let’s not forget the genuine reality of internships: most are unpaid, with little or no food and travel expenses; and they are often undertaken at some considerable financial strain to the applicant.

Internships are a two-way street, much in the same way that a job interview is informative of whether you are suitable for the company or not, and whether the company is suitable for you. Employers gain many hours of free labour, while interns secure valuable new skills.

But internships are not just about the skills acquired by the intern.

Employers should seize upon the opportunity as a chance to nurture new talent to the industry, especially in the creative fields such as PR and communications. After all, if a degree is no longer enough to gain entry into a chosen field, then industries must make it more accessible for graduates to gain experience.

The last time I heard anything so altogether innocent as Etsio’s proposal, the Coalition government were insisting that tripling university tuition fees would increase access to education.”

Author: Karl Booton

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The unpaid internship debate continues

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Government getting tough on employers not paying interns minimum wage.
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