You might be hearing a little more about something called the ‘Internship Alliance’ over coming weeks and months. They are a newly created pressure group of vested interests and public affairs companies who want to lead discussions with the government about the role internships play in the job market. We, and a few others, have some concerns.
They have styled themselves as being ‘friends of the intern’, but to quote an anonymous intern who alerted us to this story:
Its motivations seem dodgy to say the least. It seems more like a grand plan to make money for some of these organisations by lobbying Government under the guise of making internships better.
Our anonymous intern went on:
One of the organisations involved is Luther Pendragon who, it has been discovered, takes on unpaid interns. This is genuinely quite shocking. I have found three adverts for unpaid internships with Luther Pendragon from the past few months: here, here and here.
Luther Pendron will be running a full-scale press campaign for the companies involved – and we have recently discovered that some of these companies pay a fee to Luther to be associated with the alliance.
Our anonymous Intern describes another member of the Alliance – Inspiring Interns – who we have written critically of in the past. They make a profit out of the intern industry – getting a fee for arranging an unpaid internship, and then charging the company if the intern is given a paid job! They also boast of having 10+ unpaid interns themselves. It’s a staggering business model, that uses interns like serfs.
We do not believe they have interns’ rights at heart – and I do not want them speaking for me in the national press.
The answer for many businesses may well be hiring an intern. Interns represent very effective, but inexpensive, labour.
We look forward to being surprised by the Interns Alliance. Anything that ends the current intern culture is undoubtedly a good thing. But we do not think the Alliance is best placed to do this.
Intern Aware is involved, who really do care about getting minimum wage for interns, but as ex-member Tanya from Graduate Fog wrote, she had to spend the Alliance meeting fighting for interns rights. That should be the uniting factors behind an intern pressure group not something to debate!
Tanya left because she didn’t like the morals or the motivations of the companies involved, and as the anonymous intern who originally emailed us said:
I’d seriously consider how it looks for you to be associated with this Internships Alliance group, they seem like they are in it for the wrong reasons.
Beware any press coverage that comes from them over the summer.
NB: Other groups involved, according to a comment on the Graduate Fog website include: WEXO, STEP, Give A Grad A Go, The Student Room, Wikijob, Rate My Placement, Enternships, Student Beans, AIESEC, Brave New Talent and Business In The Community.