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Interns Anonymous

09.03

Interns Anonymous

The founders of Interns Anonymous explain why they set up their campaign and website. They spill the beans on the largest survey ever done with interns and challenge the idea that a whole generation should put up with working for free. As Rosy Rickett put it “internships don’t get you jobs, jobs get you jobs.”

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Related topics: Economy, Social Change

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David said:

Good work interns anonymous!

It strikes me that if you are young and politically minded that a movement such as this should have arrived before this time, even so it is inspiring.

What we need are modern apprenticeships for professional trades which is garrenteed a wage under law and linked to the University system so that you cannot leave University without employment – this is what the Army did in changing its treatment of soldiers who where about to leave and Universities and firms should follow the Army’s resettlement systems example.

We must have a system fit for purpose and that goal should be to benefit the national society as well as the individual. Yes we want people to enjoy their job and also fit within an economic plan for the whole nation – at present their is no plan and so people end up working for nothing – thats slavery.

Agnieszka said:

That is really sad actually that people have to do unpaid work after they finish their education. They say that internships help you get the job you want, because you are learning, how to be a reliable worker and how to achieve it in your main field, but the truth is that a lot of students are working part-time while studying and they have to do work experience to pass their courses. I think that it should count as an internship and that young people should be able to find a job after they finish their education and start living.

Amelie said:

It’s crazy how young people are expected to invest lots of time and even more money after leaving university not knowing for sure whether they will end up with a job or not. I can’t see why someone shouldn’t be paid whilst learning the skills required for a job (which seems to be the official reason for internships). It feels like internships are cheap work force for companies rather then a necessity. After all, companies benefit greatly from having interns, even if they are not fully trained yet. I am not sure whether there actually is a lack of jobs but rather a lot a jobs sold as internships, exploiting the fact that graduates face big competition for work after graduating.

Vik said:

I really like these two, they actually did something about the situation of graduates not only not finding jobs and having to take internships – basically working for nothing – but actually finding they can’t even get good internships. How absurd is that. We have got to the point where there is so little jobs available, so little opportunities out there, that graduates are competing fiercely just so they can work for nothing! I like the ‘spat’ they have at the end where Rosie says demanding good internships isn’t the end goal but creating a society that provides jobs for everyone is and Alex quizzes this and says you can’t just magic up jobs. I am with Rosie on wanting to demand a society that provides the jobs for all, this is the bare minimum isn’t it – jobs for all or at least a living wage for everyone. Far cry from what our coalition government is working towards.

Vik said:

I really like these two, they actually did something about the situation of graduates not only not finding jobs and having to take internships – basically working for nothing – but actually finding they can’t even get good internships . How absurd is that. We have got to the point where there is so little jobs available, so little opportunities out there, that graduates are competing fiercely just so they can work for nothing! I like the ‘spat’ they have at the end where Rosie says demanding good internships isn’t the end goal but creating a society that provides jobs for everyone is and Alex quizzes this and says you can’t just magic up jobs. I am with Rosie on wanting to demand a society that provides the jobs for all, this is the bare minimum isn’t it – jobs for all or at least a living wage for everyone. Far cry from what our coalition government is working towards.

Joanne said:

Really interesting video – it’s great that Interns Anonymous are helping young people to work together to stop this pattern, especially since the job-seeking environment itself can so easily turn peers into competitors. I also completely agree that the current internship system needs to end. It’s really important to remember that the internship phenomenon is a relatively recent thing- before that, the work done by interns would be done by paid staff (it would be interesting to find out whether the numbers of admin staff in the average office have decreased since internships became so popular.) The benefits to organisations of the current popularity of internships are two-fold: firstly, they have an intelligent and capable free labour force at their fingertips to do the work which would otherwise have to be done by either a paid member of staff or divided up between other staff members; secondly, companies can now demand far more experience from their graduate or entry-level staff, because they can reasonably expect such candidates to have done work experience themselves. The organisations therefore cut costs on both salaries and on the costs of training up new young employees. I genuinely think that if the government produced some sort of legislation which required interns to be paid minimum wage, many companies would stop hiring interns, which would make the obligation to have an internship on your CV redundant.

Krystle said:

It’s not solely the lack of jobs that is keeping young people from getting a job after an internship, it is having an internship for the sake of having one to list on your CV, that hurts many people. Skills are so essential for getting a job, and if you can put down that you have a degree in journalism and worked for a television station, but can only say that you fetched coffee and helped at the assignment desk every once in a while, it won’t help you. Yes, it is a fact that employers are cutting jobs, but that is not a reason for people to just apply to any internship and waste their time. People should look at what skills they can develop to make them more competitive in the workforce.

Blem said:

Indeed, as Rosy Rickett says in this piece “Internships don’t get you jobs. Jobs get you jobs”. She’s right of course, but I do have a problem with anti-internship campaigns demanding that interns be paid national minimum wage, because not only does that justify a paltry sum which is in any case not enough for anyone (intern or not) to live on but if you expect so little, then that’s the small amount you’ll get. We should be demanding more jobs and shouldn’t be looking to education, training or NMW to fill that gap.

rubina said:

Interns anonymous is a great example of what young intelligent groups of individuals should be getting involved in. Yes there are no jobs around, so people resort to unpaid work that isnt always constructive or even relevant to their chosen career path. By creating think tanks, individuals become active, debating their issues and coming up with resolutions. Optimistically looking at the current economic situation, recessions are often creative times, young and lost graduates are embarking on solo projects, creating small business’, not for profit organisations and coming together to create and inspire rather than bitch and moan.
It is understandably frustrating, but lets get productive.

Marisa said:

With the increasing number of young people going to university in the last few years, the competitiveness for jobs increased, which meant that now having a degree is not enough to get you a job. So internships are seen as a great opportunity to learn more about the field you have chosen and gain valuable experience which (many believe) will kick-start your career. However, if the number of jobs available is less than the number of graduates, internships as Rosy Rickett has said, are not going to get you a job.

Furthermore, many companies are exploiting graduates by employing them on unpaid, long-term internships, taking advantage of the tough jobs market. Although under the National Minimum Wage Act, interns who work rather than observe should be paid, employers have taken advantage of the willingness of young people to get work, to pay just expenses, or nothing at all. As such, the government should not only establish clear guidelines on internships, but should also impose tough measures on companies having abusive behaviour, because with Britain facing the harshest employment conditions in a generation, it will only get worse for interns.

Kemi said:

I agree that the concept of internships have changed and indeed companies/businesses have exploited the willingness of people wanting to build their skills; by using internships as cheap labour.Unpaid internships are not a replacements for jobs therefore it is vital that the rules and regulations of internships should defenitely be revised. For example – Making them part- time instead of full-time, offerring travel and lunch expenses and allowences, If they are full-time then making sure it doesnt exceed over 3 months.

Overall internships are very helpful in gaining experience and a taster into what you tend to be doing in the future especially for students.But for people such as graduates and older people with actual previous higher job experience to be working for free for a long period of time is totally unacceptable.Entry level and graduate schemes are the sort of jobs that should replace such extended internships.

noshoes onmyfeet said:

I think that the survey these two have done is exactly what we need. I think that this issue has only just begun, and will continue to impact the job market as an increasing number of young adults complete their studies and look for a career only to end up as an unpaid intern. I’m in my early twenties and everyone i know around my age has been affected by this exploitation of labor. In a way i think that the friends of mine who chose not to attend university made a smart decision, because they have four-years more experience than most other people.

Katja said:

As Interns Anonoymous states it is simply not possible to do an internship if you are not paid, especially if you are doing it in a expensive city as London. So how can somebody afford life without money? I mean you cant live from fresh air? But you have to collect work experiences to get some furter qualification for a future job. So the only way to get work experience is to ask ypu parents to help or you have to save money during your studies to get work experience. And this is definetly the wrong way.

I mean internships are a good thing and really helpful to improve your work skills. But the employer sees the interns simply as cheap or even free workers which is leading to a further discussion on unempolyment. As the students are unemployed as they dont get money and as the is simply a a lack of jobs.

Carol Dodsworth said:

To me, internships are bad for employment; whilst these companies take on interns, they are stopping people getting the jobs the interns are being used as cheap/slave labour for, which in turn is keeping unemployment high.
If a company takes on interns, there should be a limit as to how many or a time scale before they are banned or stopped from taking on interns.

Internships are not really a bad thing in general, but being used as they are is unfair. No-one should have to intern for as long as many have done and will do, especially with no realistic job prospect.