I originally found your site after reading this BBC article.
I wanted to read about your points-of-views to make sure we treat our interns (currently 2) as well as possible.
Most of what I read is extremely fair and I too find it sickening that some companies see it as a way to get free labour. I hope this isn’t as prevalent as some of the articles make out.
One thing I was a little worried about is that it seems some people what internships banning or a minimum wage implemented.
I was concerned that this would ruin the good opportunities for others. The guys that we currently have on board, I hope find working with us extremely useful for experience and know that they will be offered a fair wage a they progress (in fact one of them was offered a wage 4 days in to his internship as he is so good!). But we wouldn’t have been able to take the risk investing training and time into unproven employees. I know some have qualifications but there so many people with qualifications AND experience looking for work it just wouldn’t make sense to take them on.
That said we have taken a gamble on a couple of people without even qualifications. One great, one awful.
What I really want to say is that internships are a great way for agencies to test a persons ‘ unproven skills and have a workforce bolstered for little or no cost, and they can be a great way for people to prove themselves and make themselves an invaluable asset.
However we have had a few interns that have missed the point or had a bad attitude and I would say from most of the people I interview graduates have extremely unrealistic expectations. For instance one guy who joined us on a three month contract demanded a £15k wage after just a month – and a month of arriving late and leaving early! It’s a pity as he had a lot of potential and if he had a bit more dedication would have fitted in very nicely.
I hope some of this is a useful view of things from an agencies perspective.