Nick Clegg internship madness

Over at The Student Room election sensation Nick Clegg has been talking about internships. He thinks interns need to be valued, with 800,000 placements paying £55 a week to be created by a Lib Dem government. Pity the last intern position he advertised for was unpaid.

Also the maths: 800,000 internships at £55 a week for 3 months by the end of 2010

800,000 X £55 X 12 weeks = £528,000,000 or HALF A BILLION on internships that provide no guarantee of a job? Madness.

Another politician using internships as a buzzword for getting people back to work without understanding the faintest thing about them.

He was asked:

How do you plan to respond to the growing prevalence of unpaid internships, including parliamentary internships? What is your view on unpaid internships, placements and work experience in relation to the law and to National Minimum Wage rules? How will you ensure that internships are open to all, rather than to those who are in a position to work for free?

A very good question!

Nick Clegg’s answer:

You’re right, there are now a lot of interns working very hard and getting paid little or nothing for it. The danger is ending up in a situation where internships are exclusive to those young people whose parents can afford to help them. Internships can be an amazing way of getting a flavour for a possible career when you’re young and that option should be open to as many young people as possible. I know myself how fantastic that experience can be – I got to intern in New York, working on a magazine called ‘The Nation’ for Christopher Hitchens. Opening up the opportunity to intern to more people is important to my party, and we have a plan to create 800,000 internships in our first year in office, helping all the young people now struggling to find work. We’ve made sure that those places will be paid at £55 a week – enough to cover basic costs, and more than you get collecting Job Seekers’ Allowance.

Quite how you can afford to live in London – let alone pay rent – on £55 a week is beyond me. That’s about as much as the average internship gives in travel and lunch money. Clegg of course recounts his own internship with the hitch. I wonder how he afforded to pay rent in New York for 3 months? What interns really want, and what they are legally entitled to is National Minimum Wage. Something Nick Clegg didn’t even give his own interns.

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22 Responses to “Nick Clegg internship madness”


  1. 1 lynseybarber 04/19/2010 at 4:42 pm

    Yep, despite appearances he is still as priveleged as Cameron in his upbringing and thus could afford to work for free.

    Is he suggesting that the govt/taxpayer would pay the money? That aint a good idea. Just implement law that companies must pay minimum wage, and some kinda non-payable National Insurance incentives for company for interns employed.

  2. 2 Richard McCarthy 05/16/2010 at 4:44 pm

    And he’s wrong about the amount for JSA, last time I looked in March it was £64.10.

  3. 3 tim boards 05/17/2010 at 3:56 pm

    blimey , some people expect everything on a plate , if your parents cant afford to support you then how about getting a part time job to support yourself , bottom line is you have to work HARD to get anywhere and the opportunity of an internship is a good thing , no i am not a tory , I agree with nick , but really you have to kick butt and find a way sometimes and not rely always on the government.

    • 4 Conical Zoom 04/05/2011 at 11:56 pm

      It’s not that simple. I am currently working as an intern in Parliament. While I am fortunate enough to be working for a Lib Dem MP who allows very flexible working hours, I know others who work five long days a week. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for a part time job. But if they don’t like it, then someone else will take their spot. It’s exploitation and is disgusting.

      Cynical ignorants are ironically right when they say ‘the youth of today don’t know what an honest days work is like’ – We don’t get an honest payment!

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  1. 1 Interns: an election issue (part 2) | Rights for Interns Trackback on 04/20/2010 at 12:58 pm
  2. 2 Student confronts Clegg over his ridiculous internships plans « Interns Anonymous Trackback on 04/30/2010 at 11:09 am
  3. 3 Question: What do Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have in common? « Interns Anonymous Trackback on 07/12/2010 at 3:13 pm
  4. 4 Interns Anonymous’ review of 2010… and a look forward to 2011 « Interns Anonymous Trackback on 01/10/2011 at 12:09 pm

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