The view from the streets: working for nothing

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Internships are now accepted as an essential first step into the job market. Graduates often do two or three internships, the majority are unpaid with no job on the cards when they end. Is working for nothing for six months an elitist opportunity for rich kids whose parents can fund them? Are companies abusing free labour? Should internships be regulated or should young people just wise up about what’s on offer? WORLDbytes reporters check out the view on the streets of East London.

5 comments

I agree with the guy who says graduates, who work for nothing and get nothing in return, not even a good experience, are victims of their own stupidity. However, I also think that internships exploit free talent - this generation of graduates expect very little and are getting very little. It is shocking that still it is only those who have parents with money who can choose the careers they want to get into - this shows that our economy is failing miserably, lurching from one useless response to the crisis to the another, whilst not doing anything much to actually create more jobs!
By Vivregan 4 years ago
I completely agree – what started off as a relatively harmless way to gain work experience and an insight into your future career has turned into an exploitative system which forces a great deal of intelligent young people to work for free in order to get the career that they want. I have several friends who have spent months practically in poverty or working multiple jobs in order to support themselves through internships. I really can’t imagine another sector of society which would tolerate this kind of unpaid labour, but unfortunately the internship system has become so widespread that many young people (myself included) feel like there is no other path towards an interesting career. The most frustrating thing is that, since many people cannot afford to work for free (particularly after forking out for university degrees which should have led easily into well-paid jobs), the internship system encourages elitism, and will ultimately result in a situation where high-powered or des
By josieg01 4 years ago
I was just having this conversation with one of my flatmates the other day. There are definitely unpaid work experience opportunities that people should take advantage of if, and only if, they can gain essential skills that will lead to a job afterward. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason why anyone can justify working for free. Employers think that they can take advantage of young people by paying them nothing to work long-hour days, and often times not even providing them with the necessary skills needed for their future careers. This does primarily happen in competitive fields such as media, fashion, and other arts. Students in those fields just need to step back and assess what is best for them.
By Krystle05 4 years ago
Why is that if you have rich parents, you can choose the industry and career you want for yourself? It’s more than unfair, it’s a telling reflection of an economy that is just not working for everyone. The previous Labour government’s response to unemployment brought on by the recession was a range of pretty useless initiatives: push young people back into education, employment and training as well as ‘high quality’ internships for graduates who have been out of work for more than six months. Neither internships nor education are a solution for a lack of jobs. The solution, surely is to demand and create more jobs!
By Baqarah 4 years ago
Most students expexct to get a job once they finish University, however today most employers require graduates to have some sort of experience in the working world. But with limited number of paid internships available, many graduates opt for unpaid internships, where many young people are exploited, sometimes doing jobs that people would previously have been paid for.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), interns should be paid a minimum training wage of £2.50 an hour. Furthermore, the CIPD suggested that “unpaid internships act as a barrier to social mobility, as students and graduates from less well-off backgrounds may be put off applying”. As such, a ‘training wage’ would improve social mobility by easing access to professional vocations for young people who cannot afford to work for free.
By MarisaPereira 4 years ago