Leeds Beckett lecturer Robert Minton Taylor has expressed his support for paid internship which has been brought up in a report Sutton Trust published today.
The Sutton Trust report showed that a third of university graduate interns are not just working for nothing but also spending hundreds of pounds a month to kick-start their career. At any one time, there are at least 21,000 unpaid interns in the UK.
According to the social mobility charity, unpaid internships are being regarded as the first step towards a career especially in highly competitive professions and those who cannot afford to work for free are missing out opportunities.
Sutton Trust has called for all interns to get at least the national minimum wage which is £6.50 per hour, if not the £7.85 per hour living wage.
Although there was no figure that related to Yorkshire in the report, it said that a six-month unpaid placement would cost more than £4,700 in Manchester alone.
As a public relations lecturer at Leeds Beckett’s Business School, Mr Minton Taylor commended Sutton Trust for highlighting the damage unpaid internship is causing social mobility.
He said that trying to get into a profession through an unpaid internship in London would be a complete non-starter especially for many young people from North of England, pointing out that living on the minimum wage there is already a struggle. It also concerned him how some unpaid interns are getting recruited unofficially.
The Sutton Trust has said that all internship positions should be advertised publicly.
According to the Trust’s new survey, almost seven in 10 people in England believe that unpaid internships are unfair because only those who are wealthy can afford to work without pay for a significant period.
Sutton Trust development and policy director Dr Lee Elliot Major said their report shows that the vast majority of individuals cannot afford to handle unpaid internship costs. He added that people from modest background will have better access to internships if all interns working for over a month will be paid the minimum wage.