Are unpaid internships the new normal?


Locutus
#1
Christopher Daniels knows about internships.

Daniels, 41, is a Red Seal certified chef, who worked as an intern in Toronto’s food industry and is still uncertain in terms of his career.

Sometimes interns are paid. More often they work for free, hoping the internship will turn into a “real” job or at least give them work experience and a beefed-up resume. But in an economy still trying to drag itself out of a recession, today’s university and college graduates have it tough.


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Are unpaid internships the new normal? - The Sheaf
 
SLM
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by Locutus View Post

Christopher Daniels knows about internships.

Daniels, 41, is a Red Seal certified chef, who worked as an intern in Toronto’s food industry and is still uncertain in terms of his career.

Sometimes interns are paid. More often they work for free, hoping the internship will turn into a “real” job or at least give them work experience and a beefed-up resume. But in an economy still trying to drag itself out of a recession, today’s university and college graduates have it tough.


more


Are unpaid internships the new normal? - The Sheaf

I know in our office/industry (business/finance) the expectation is that students/interns are paid and at competitive rates too. As far as I know they always have been. It's been my understanding that a lot of social service agencies do not pay their interns/students and that's the norm there. Apprenticeships in certain trades are usually half & half, there are government subsidies available but they are paid to learn as far as I know.

There has to be a balance between training/gaining experience and working though, in my opinion. If an industry is not inclined to payit's interns then it at least should be a co-op through school. At least they'd be covered under school funding that way. Who in heck can afford to go to a job for 3-6 months without being paid? It's great to gain the experience but fainting from starvation probably isn't going to help with learning retention, lol.
 
karrie
#3
As a highschool educated stay at home mom, I've actually been considering the internship route. There is a gentleman I know who runs a public relations firm that absolutely intrigues me (the work, not the man). The small amount of work I've done with him has me wanting to pick his brain and see what it would take to get some work experience under my belt (again, with the work, not the man).
 
WLDB
#4
I hope not. Long term it may pay off, but thats not guaranteed anymore. In some cases it may be better to just take a job that will pay even if its in another field. It all depends on the cost of living and the field itself. Some will be able to afford it, others wont.
 
damngrumpy
#5
This is happening in hospitals for those in nursing programs in certain courses in BC
The problem is the internship now forces more pressure on students they have to do
internship when they should be earning money to continue their education in the field
thus adding to their loans. All this because we view education and training as an expense
instead of an investment.
 
SLM
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

As a highschool educated stay at home mom, I've actually been considering the internship route. There is a gentleman I know who runs a public relations firm that absolutely intrigues me (the work, not the man). The small amount of work I've done with him has me wanting to pick his brain and see what it would take to get some work experience under my belt (again, with the work, not the man).

I think in a case like yours it makes sense. While you certainly bring intelligence and the ability to learn along with the offer of your time to the table, you bring no real knowledge aside from any you may have acquired to satisfy your own personal interest in the subject. However, a student who has been studying for years at college or university does bring some knowledge, so to deny any financial compensation to them is to deny any value to their education. In which case, why would they bother to get it at all?
 
karrie
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

I think in a case like yours it makes sense. While you certainly bring intelligence and the ability to learn along with the offer of your time to the table, you bring no real knowledge aside from any you may have acquired to satisfy your own personal interest in the subject. However, a student who has been studying for years at college or university does bring some knowledge, so to deny any financial compensation to them is to deny any value to their education. In which case, why would they bother to get it at all?


I guess my understanding of internships being used for college grads was that it was primarily done in fields that were so swamped with candidates, that any form of hiring process was essentially like throwing a dart at a dartboard. Where the resumes are all identical and polished, the courses are all the same, the grades are all the same. Where your candidates are essentially all identical on paper and in interviews. There employers would switch over to internships to allow a chance to actually work with the candidates and assess them. I think as jobs became more and more scarce though, employers started taking more and more advantage of how hungry people were for a chance at a job. And the more elite the job, the more employers could string interns along.
 
SLM
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

I guess my understanding of internships being used for college grads was that it was primarily done in fields that were so swamped with candidates, that any form of hiring process was essentially like throwing a dart at a dartboard. Where the resumes are all identical and polished, the courses are all the same, the grades are all the same. Where your candidates are essentially all identical on paper and in interviews. There employers would switch over to internships to allow a chance to actually work with the candidates and assess them. I think as jobs became more and more scarce though, employers started taking more and more advantage of how hungry people were for a chance at a job. And the more elite the job, the more employers could string interns along.

I can understand in certain fields internship coming without financial remuneration, as I said earlier in our office we've always paid our students/interns and that's the standard for the field but my sister-in-law is in social services and they never pay their students/interns, the budget just doesn't allow for it. Assessment and the ability to take the knowledge learned into practical applications is what the employer provides to the intern, but they also get something out of it when the intern has had some formal training.

I guess my sense of fairness says that anything unpaid should be of short duration otherwise it does become about taking advantage of the interns and wherever possible there should be some payment. But I guess that can all be really industry specific too.
 

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