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Are interns exploited?

 
 
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: Are interns exploited? Reply with quote

We've had an intern at work recently and she's been blogging about her experiences. In a recent blog a comment was made that interns are essentially exploited and that it flies in the face of things like minimum wage regulations.

What do you guys think? In America its increasingly common for interns to pay the host company for the opportunity, poles apart from actually getting paid for their time. Are interns being exploited or do they represent a crucial foot in the door for young people with no experience?
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Clever Little Alex
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One hundred percent I think trainees and interns are exploited. I've seen it happen to friends and family time and again. I've also known people who've worked very hard for a year as a trainee on the promise of a better position once they know the ropes and can prove they can do it, only to then be fobbed off and replaced by another trainee when the year is up. Totally unnacceptable in my opinion.
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adigaskell
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our own intern has gained an awful lot of experience though and made some very useful contacts that will bode well for her future career. With finances so tight we wouldn't have hired her on a salaried wage I don't suppose so she would have missed out on that.

Making sacrifices early on for greater reward later on is something you have to learn in life. After all a university education is just that.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I had my mid-life crisis and decided to be a chef, I had to do "work experience" at the end of the college course. I subsequently wrote about it in terms of "I paid to become a slave". I guess that pretty much sums up my experience.
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Clever Little Alex
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not saying that internship is without it's benefits.

I would say though that many companies are guilty of taking huge advantage of hard-working people who have little working experience, and cut them a very unfair deal. Everybody has to start somewhere - it doesn't seem right for a company to be taking money off someone in order for them to come and do work for them. It's completely backwards.

To spin it a slightly different way, say there are 3 people applying for an internship. All are willing to work for free, but two can't afford to pay out any money. One can though, and this is the one the company takes on, for obvious reasons. How is this different from bribery?

And what stops it becoming a case of who's got the deepest pockets? Surely in this scenario it's a sellers' market, and an internship is worth whatever the highest bidder will pay?



I also think some companies are also guilty of deciding themselves that they're gonna let go of trainee employees after a year or so, without letting the employee in question in on their intentions. They can also drop the employee informal suggestions that they're working towards a career, and nod and smile when the employee talks about progression within the company, and allow them to believe that there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the current job, so they work as hard as they can. And then a year is up and suddenly they're back to square one, with like, a year's experience using a photocopier and making tea.

I'm not saying that all companies treat people so expendably like this, but it seems a growing number do.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some really good points in there, Alex. It seems very unfair sometimes that having a rich mummy and daddy, rather than merit, will get you places. But life ain't fair.
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