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Times Online: Should employers charge for work experience?

February 16th, 2010Posted by in Editors' pick, Training

The Times looks at what could be a growing trend – employers charging interns for work experience placements.

The article references a recent Conservative party charity auction, which sold off several placements, including work experience at Conde Nast for a bid of £3,700.

But in the article, Dr Paul Redmond, head of careers and employability at the University of Liverpool, suggests the paid-for placement will become a more regular feature in industries such as media, fashion and design.

[I]t’s always been the case that some students have worked for free. You could argue that charity auction organisers are taking the process to its logical conclusion, attaching a price tag to something that has been going on informally behind the scenes for years.

Would introducing a charging system benefit journalism employers or place further pressure on low-income students and graduates? And, as one commenter remarks, how would this be regulated?

Full story at this link…

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  • http://skippingstones.wordpress.com Gem

    Employers charging for work experience would be unfair to students and place even more pressure on those trying to make it in an already cut-throat industry.

  • http://helpmeinvestigate.com Paul Bradshaw

    Yes, it’s stupid. And the story is based only on auctions, so there’s not much to really discuss, although I personally find them a little offensive – whether it’s for ‘charidee’ or not, it’s still giving people professional opportunities based on their ability to pay. The comparison with indentures in the article is a good one. At some point I’ll expand on a suggestion I made at a government event that journalism internships should be treated as part of volunteering in your community, and opened up to a wider pool of people as part of that.

  • http://www.journalism.co.uk Laura Oliver

    I was interested in Redmond’s comments though as have previously been told by one newspaper executive that at least one UK regional newspaper group was already charging students for placements – though never got a name out of him.

    Look forward to hearing more on the volunteering idea.

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  • Ceiri

    Not only does this idea clearly limit work experience in fields like media to only those from a wealthy background, but it is totally disadvantageous to those who still get their work experience the traditional way – begging, pleading, writing inimitably hilarious emails etc.

    I already know of stories where rich kids have ‘bought’ work experience, perhaps through auctions, and either the parents who actually paid are: 1) board members of the publishing group 2) someone generally considered important enough not to upset. The result is that there will be 5 workies on a magazine, 4 are BA or masters students in the final throes and 1 is an 18 year old with a rich dad. Guess who gets the full page byline?

  • http://rollbackandmix.blogspot.com Mark Clapham

    Too many jobs already require unpaid internships and work experience before you can get even a low-paying job, reserving those careers for either the insanely dedicated or, far more often, kids with the financial backing to work for free for years on end. Paid work experience will just act as a further screening to ensure anybody from a less wealthy background doesn’t get in.

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  • Pingback: Current charity auction bid for week’s work experience at Vogue: £7,850 | Journalism.co.uk Editors' Blog

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