We've all heard it, right? The dreaded millennial Catch-22: to get experience, you need a job. To get a job, you need experience.
Unsurprisingly, high numbers of young people in the UK go through long unpaid placements, internships and work experience programmes to gain the experience required for their first full-time job.
This may seem like an inevitable link in the career chain, but for many, unpaid internships are a pretty crappy thing. Primarily, unpaid placements work only on the basis that you have significant savings to support you while you're working for (optimistically) experience, or (pessimistically) nothing.
If you're fortunate you can live with your parents/stay with friends during your placement, but many will need to travel for their internship, and therefore have to pay for accommodation throughout.
And that's not the only outgoing. You'll also have to fork out for travel (which is no small fee, especially in cities like London), food and other basic necessities of living. If you're lucky, an employer might allow you to claim the price of a meal deal back each day. Often though, you won't be.
The findings of a study into unpaid work by the Sutton Trust has been released this week, and it's shown that an unpaid internship in the capital currently costs individuals an eye-watering £1,000 a month to attend. In Manchester, it's £827.
To get a job, you need experience. To get experience, you need cash.
This is all well and good (but even then, it's not really) if you have the savings available, but unpaid internships which cost this much are incredibly exclusive of those from disadvantaged backgrounds and low to middle income families.
Many people would find it impossible to gain experience in this way, especially young people fresh out of college and university.
While the unpaid internship tide is finally turning in a lot of industries, with many employers paying their interns, offering to pay high expenses, and helping to source accommodation, the battle is far from won.
For more information on internships and the laws employers must abide by, have a look at the government's site on employment. It'll tell you when you're legally entitled to pay, and what your rights are within your placement.
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