Owen Shipton from Durham University writes for The National Student about a graduate who was rejected by Tony Blair’s office because he was unwilling to work for free:
The unnamed graduate was initially offered a three month placement. However, this would have meant giving up his part-time job in order to take on the full-time unpaid position. When he contacted Mr Blair’s office to inform them that he would only be able to work four days per week he was notified by email that he had been rejected in favour of a candidate who could work for the full five days.
The former Prime Minister’s organisation provides expenses to cover lunch and travel costs and insists that they “value (their) interns very highly.” Nevertheless, the graduate in question, who attended a top London university, has calculated that rent and travel costs alone would have set him back over £550 a month, a figure that the expenses offered would not have met.
The graduate at the centre of the scandal contacted Graduate Fog, a careers advice website that has campaigned against unpaid internships in the past. They, in turn, emailed Blair’s office to raise their concerns. Their response was to stress that the programme offered “valuable experience in a high profile and fast moving work environment.”
Full article here.