On charities and unpaid interns in volunteers’ clothing

28 Jun

You have to be rich to work for a charity now,” an intern told me recently. “I’m passionate about helping others but after six months of unpaid work it’s a luxury I can’t afford any more. So I’m giving up to do something else.”

This intern is one of a growing number of graduates reporting that the third sector is following politics, fashion and media in requiring its young workers to perform months of unpaid work – “internships” – before they will be considered for their first paid role. Those who can’t fund this period (six to 12 months is the norm) say they are being “priced out” of pursuing a career in this sector. […]

Read more in today’s Guardian Comment is Free promoting the Intern Aware campaign.

Another story showing how internships reproduce systems of privilege and filter out poorer individuals from certain sectors, no matter how educated or passionate they are. And back to our point that hiding unpaid internships under the guise of  “voluntary work” doesn’t really change the substance of an unfair system…as the article says:

Nobody can live for free – so it is unfair to expect them to work for free. Even if it is for a good cause.

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