Are unpaid work experience internships ever justified?

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tjblonks
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I have just done an internship for 2 months to get work experience and was offered a job after an indefinite period i.e 'we will see'.

The employer said they would only compensate my train fare (not bus fare too) and i could not afford to keep travelling to London , so i left.

Another person was in my position there for like 6 - 8 months and they are doing the work of like 2 people. Really mentally demanding stuff , yet the employer only pays for transport. I think this is very wrong.

I would like to know what you all think about this.
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gr8wizard10
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sounds rough
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Zamestaneh
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I think it is exploitative
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by tjblonks)
I have just done an internship for 2 months to get work experience and was offered a job after an indefinite period i.e 'we will see'.

The employer said they would only compensate my train fare (not bus fare too) and i could not afford to keep travelling to London , so i left.

Another person was in my position there for like 6 - 8 months and they are doing the work of like 2 people. Really mentally demanding stuff , yet the employer only pays for transport. I think this is very wrong.

I would like to know what you all think about this.
I would never take an unpaid internship. There are plenty of good, paid opportunities out there. Some of which even pay well above the *actual* London living wage.

A week or so of actual work experience/shadowing etc. is fine, as long as no actual work of value is completed and transport/hotel stays/food is paid for.
Last edited by Blue_Cow; 1 year ago
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tjblonks
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Yeah , it is not easy
(Original post by gr8wizard10)
sounds rough
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tjblonks
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Competition is very hard for unpaid internships , even paid internships.Sometimes it may be the only way to get some experience on your cv. I didn't want to do it but it is the first bit of relevant experience i got in a very long time.

I did feel very used but also, in some ways , i had no choice until something better came along.
(Original post by Blue_Cow)
I would never take an unpaid internship. There are plenty of good, paid opportunities out there. Some of which even pay well above the *actual* London living wage.

A week or so of actual work experience/shadowing etc. is fine, as long as no actual work of value is completed and transport/hotel stays/food is paid for.
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HoldThisL
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as with most things, it is not clear cut. many firms hire their interns or pay well, others do not, and some of those never intended to anyway and are exploiting free labou
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tjblonks
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I really think it is and a lot of companies are getting away with murder.
(Original post by Zamestaneh)
I think it is exploitative
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ajj2000
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(Original post by tjblonks)
I have just done an internship for 2 months to get work experience and was offered a job after an indefinite period i.e 'we will see'.

The employer said they would only compensate my train fare (not bus fare too) and i could not afford to keep travelling to London , so i left.

Another person was in my position there for like 6 - 8 months and they are doing the work of like 2 people. Really mentally demanding stuff , yet the employer only pays for transport. I think this is very wrong.

I would like to know what you all think about this.
I think its terrible. What sort of role were you doing?

My suspicion is that there are some attractive areas of work which lots of young people would love to get into but don't pay much. Some employers have realised that they can have free labour - especially if they hold out the carrot of a permanent job.
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tjblonks
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It was a caseworker type role .Will never do that again.
(Original post by ajj2000)
I think its terrible. What sort of role were you doing?

My suspicion is that there are some attractive areas of work which lots of young people would love to get into but don't pay much. Some employers have realised that they can have free labour - especially if they hold out the carrot of a permanent job.
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swelshie
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Graduate Fog / "How to get a graduate job now" has a chapter on unpaid internships & what rights you have. Might be of interest to you.
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londonmyst
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Yes.
I'm think unpaid work experience and unpaid internship positions can be worthwhile.
Many people spend thousands of pounds on work experience placements in the fashion, legal or tech industries.
The experience, skills and professional contacts acquired can be very valuable.
But many business do sail perilously close to illegal conduct- luring applicants for work experience/internships with false claims of potential employment for their own financial benefit, using them as an off payroll free workforce and not providing promised references.

I've done plenty of unpaid work experience without expenses; to obtain practical experience, knowledge of the sector and for the potential to make contacts. Similar approach towards charity volunteering for vital causes, although all of those did offer some expenses to those volunteers willing to accept.
Some work experience/internship managers & staff were nasty, demanding and gave the impression that they view it as their personal mission in life to victimize the 'free labour'.
I know a few horrid bullies at the Trussell Trust who indulge in similar behaviour.
But that's life, those were an unpleasant few that tended to alternate between trying to butter up those with senior roles above them they considered worth their while and abusing everyone else.
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kkboyk
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Unpaid work experience is only worth it if the company are putting lots of effort to teach you, and if you're working low amount of hours. I did one at my university's finance department and it was great
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Themysticalegg
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Yes, the job I got as a result was more than worth the unpaid work and I wouldn't of got the job without doing that work experience. Think of unpaid internships as a long term investment.

I would definitely apply for jobs at other companies if their promises are empty which they may well be. You don't wanna stay so long that you are just getting exploited.
Last edited by Themysticalegg; 1 year ago
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IzzyOfThePeak
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If you don't mind me asking, how did you support yourself during this time if you were not paid for food and accommodation? In the words of the Clash, you have the right to food money! I'm in this position currently having been offered a competitive position paid at under minimum wage. I'd do it except I don't agree I should use my hard earned saving to bank roll this organisation. It's a tough one I agree, but totally unfair on people who don't have private wealth.
(Original post by londonmyst)
Yes.
I'm think unpaid work experience and unpaid internship positions can be worthwhile.
Many people spend thousands of pounds on work experience placements in the fashion, legal or tech industries.
The experience, skills and professional contacts acquired can be very valuable.
But many business do sail perilously close to illegal conduct- luring applicants for work experience/internships with false claims of potential employment for their own financial benefit, using them as an off payroll free workforce and not providing promised references.

I've done plenty of unpaid work experience without expenses; to obtain practical experience, knowledge of the sector and for the potential to make contacts. Similar approach towards charity volunteering for vital causes, although all of those did offer some expenses to those volunteers willing to accept.
Some work experience/internship managers & staff were nasty, demanding and gave the impression that they view it as their personal mission in life to victimize the 'free labour'.
I know a few horrid bullies at the Trussell Trust who indulge in similar behaviour.
But that's life, those were an unpleasant few that tended to alternate between trying to butter up those with senior roles above them they considered worth their while and abusing everyone else.
i
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londonmyst
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(Original post by IzzyOfThePeak)
If you don't mind me asking, how did you support yourself during this time if you were not paid for food and accommodation? In the words of the Clash, you have the right to food money! I'm in this position currently having been offered a competitive position paid at under minimum wage. I'd do it except I don't agree I should use my hard earned saving to bank roll this organisation. It's a tough one I agree, but totally unfair on people who don't have private wealth.
Savings, overdraft and credit cards.
I've got credit card debt of nearly £20k and work three jobs to support myself.

A few of my friends decimated their own savings and their families took out loans buying 4-6 month fashion industry internships.
The internships all cost over £15k each, plus they also had to finance months of accommodation costs and living expenses.
All chasing the dream of a career in the US/UK/italian luxury fashion industry.
So far two of the seven have found paid employment in the fashion industry and one receives expensive luxury items as a perk of the job.

I am aware that some companies do make a habit of breaking the law and a few seem to deliberately set out to breach their legal obligations.
But that's a criminal law issue.
I'm a realist, many industries do operate in a gatekeeper closed environment.
Only a lot of persistence, making contacts and extensive networking unlock the gate.
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IzzyOfThePeak
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I guess each to their own. I admire your determination and belief. It's understandable to me why some people would go to those extremes. I just wouldn't want to enter an industry that treats people like that, especially given the fact that buying into it erodes decent employment practice for everyone (regardless of the amount of free stuff one is given). I'm more interested in freelancing and creative work.

(Original post by londonmyst)
Savings, overdraft and credit cards.
I've got credit card debt of nearly £20k and work three jobs to support myself.

A few of my friends decimated their own savings and their families took out loans buying 4-6 month fashion industry internships.
The internships all cost over £15k each, plus they also had to finance months of accommodation costs and living expenses.
All chasing the dream of a career in the US/UK/italian luxury fashion industry.
So far two of the seven have found paid employment in the fashion industry and one receives expensive luxury items as a perk of the job.

I am aware that some companies do make a habit of breaking the law and a few seem to deliberately set out to breach their legal obligations.
But that's a criminal law issue.
I'm a realist, many industries do operate in a gatekeeper closed environment.
Only a lot of persistence, making contacts and extensive networking unlock the gate.
Last edited by IzzyOfThePeak; 1 year ago
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Themysticalegg
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Is there a particular occupation/industry you are trying to enter? If you don't mind me asking?
(Original post by londonmyst)
Savings, overdraft and credit cards.
I've got credit card debt of nearly £20k and work three jobs to support myself.

A few of my friends decimated their own savings and their families took out loans buying 4-6 month fashion industry internships.
The internships all cost over £15k each, plus they also had to finance months of accommodation costs and living expenses.
All chasing the dream of a career in the US/UK/italian luxury fashion industry.
So far two of the seven have found paid employment in the fashion industry and one receives expensive luxury items as a perk of the job.

I am aware that some companies do make a habit of breaking the law and a few seem to deliberately set out to breach their legal obligations.
But that's a criminal law issue.
I'm a realist, many industries do operate in a gatekeeper closed environment.
Only a lot of persistence, making contacts and extensive networking unlock the gate.
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londonmyst
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(Original post by Themysticalegg)
Is there a particular occupation/industry you are trying to enter? If you don't mind me asking?
Non fiction publishing.
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DuckDodgers
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Aye, publishing and fashion always struck me as two of the most exploitative industries.
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