Libertarian. Enjoys politics, technology, music, food and drink.
There must have been something in the internship air over the past few months as I’ve noticed quite a few stories regarding payment for them. The NUJ launched their ‘Cashback for Interns‘ campaign last year, but following the Tory Black and White Ball they stepped up their game. Cashback for Interns persuades journalists who have previously worked for free to call back their old editors and, essentially, demand payment for services rendered. And now we learn that Clegg, probably in attempt to fix some relations with the youth of the country, declared an end to unpaid internships. And today I learn there is a pressure group called Intern Aware that tries to get interns paid for their work.
Even if we ignore the hypocrisy of Clegg’s proposal, that still doesn’t mean it is a good idea. I agreed generally with ‘The Chancer’ over at Wannabe Hacks when the Cashback for Interns thing kicked off. In any industry where internships are prominent, it is the student/graduate who is benefitting from it, not the employer. The employer is doing you a favour. It won’t be real work and the addition to your CV is the payment. If companies were forced to pay their interns, then there would be far fewer interns and even fewer people breaking into whichever field they wanted to go into.
I, of course, recognise the argument on the other side (and I’ve never done an internship because I couldn’t afford to live in London and work for free), but paying interns is not the answer. The company who are letting you work for them, should not then have to pay you to do the photocopying. I think the Lib Dem’s incredibly half-arsed move towards paid internships reflects the feel of the companies who offer internships in general. It was a silly thing to announce when the LDs would shift their advertising to volunteers. You can dress it up however you like, but a spade is still a spade.