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To Pay or Not To Pay? That is the Question!


The debate has been raging on since last Summer around internship programmes being cancelled and, more recently, whether interns should be paid

This final discussion came to a head this week when the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) released their report and recommendations on whether internships should be paid or not. The report recommends that interns working in long-term internships should be paid a “training wage” of £2.50 per hour to bring it in line with the hourly rate that apprentices are paid, this recommendation has been made as there is a fear that if the companies offering internships were made to pay the national minimum wage then we would see a marked drop in the number of companies offering internships.

The reasoning behind this is that if internships are unpaid then only those graduates with external financial help, from say their parents, are able to take on an unpaid internship, therefore excluding those who are less well off from being able to benefit from the experience of an internship.

From the Sussex Internship Programme we have seen the benefit that an internship can have in helping recent graduates to get their foot onto the career ladder, with many companies using the internship as a long-term interview to find a new member of staff (currently running at over 60% being made a job offer by that company after their internship); however the need for financial support is evident too where out of pocket expenses that the intern needs to pay to partake in the internship may be too big a burden for some graduates to manage

So should internships be paid? Yes is my view on it. I believe that getting graduates to work for free is akin to slave labour, there should be financial support for interns in the form of a subsistence grant to help cover their expenses and extra to make it financially viable for them to complete the internship.

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Managing Director of Wired Sussex, overseeing our strategy as an organisation and work to promote our membership and its needs to local, national and international stakeholders, including government.

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