The role of internships for employers

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.

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2 Responses to “The role of internships for employers”


  1. 1 Roy 12/07/2009 at 10:43 am

    I suppose if you’re looking for people from a background that puts them in a position where they can afford to give up their time for months on end, in some kind of talent competition to earn your approval, then perhaps you’ll find the class of people you’re looking for. Good luck to you – though I doubt you’ll be picking up any Investors In People accolades anytime soon.

    I only hope that the poor sod who had the audacity to ask for the princely wage of £15k pa wasn’t cutting hours because he was forced to work a second (or should I say, first) job to pay the bills…

  2. 2 Ellie 01/20/2010 at 5:05 pm

    This employer seems to be framing it as the intern’s fault if they are exploited. Maybe this guy arrived late and left early because he WASN’T BEING PAID and it’s illegal to penalise work experience people who make mistakes/arrive late etc.

    If you’re agreeing to take them on, and expect them to have a level of skill so that they’re “useful” to you, why shouldn’t you be paying them something basic?


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Interns Anonymous

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