Let’s face it, the internship debate is never going to be clear cut and it is never going to go away. This week saw actor David Morrissey join in the discussion and become very vocal about the ‘economic exclusion’ felt by talented-working class youths trying to break into the wealthy acting industry. Full details of what he said can be found in this article in HR Grapevine.
As careers advisers, we will be all too familiar with the ‘to pay or not to pay’ divide and perhaps even the tricks used by organisations to gain labour for free. Despite the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and new rules on how this applies to internships, there are still an abundance of industries that sneak through the net – media and politics perhaps being two of the worst offenders.
And yet whilst this is all happening, we are also seeing an increase in the amount of quality paid internships that offer real opportunity to gain skills and network, whilst also making money. So where does this leave the unpaid variety? Are our students starting to shun unpaid internships or is the market place just so competitive that they will still do anything to get ahead, even if that means working for no financial gain? And, if so, where does this leave those who can’t consider non-paid schemes due to their own financial situations? Will certain industries always be exclusive to the middle classes?