Alex Denby at the University of Durham writing for the National Student discusses unpaid internships and the stance that universities should take on them:
University College London recently withdrew an advertisement for an unpaid internship as a result of student outrage, following a similar decision last month by the University of Birmingham. Unpaid internships have proved to be a controversial topic, with employers seeing them as providing “essential experience” whilst many student groups are classifying them as “exploitation”.
Internships are generally classed as a period of several months – a maximum of four, according to UCL’s own guidelineswhich it breached with its short-lived advertisement – at a junior or graduate level. These positions are often paid, sometimes not, and it is the latter which students are fighting against.
Unpaid internships are the scorn of student groups such as the University and College Union (UCU) and the National Union of Students (NUS). They are seen not so much as throwing sand in the wheels of social mobility as picking it up and pushing it down the road in the other direction.
Full story here.