Steven Hopkins has covered our latest research on internships in the Huffington post.
The cost of an unpaid internship in London has gone up to more than £1,000 a month, putting vital work experience beyond the reach of those from families on low and middle incomes, according to research. Inflation and increasing rents have pushed the cost of a one-month unpaid placement in the capital to a minimum of £1,019, meaning that a six-month internship with no pay would cost a person at least £6,114.
In Manchester, where housing costs are lower, a six-month unpaid placement would cost a minimum of £4,965 (based on £827 a month), pricing out many, analysis by the Sutton Trust social mobility charity has found.
Internships can help young people trying to break into competitive careers in politics, public relations, the arts, fashion and journalism, but they are often expected to work for nothing apart from travel expenses. There is also a lack of transparency, with placements sometimes awarded via informal networks rather than being openly advertised.
In the four years since the Sutton Trust last analysed the financial implications of internships, costs have increased significantly. In 2014 the cost was estimated at a minimum of £926 per month in London (£5,556 for six months) and £788 in Manchester (£4,728 for six months).
Though the report, titled Internships – Unpaid, Unadvertised, Unfair, acknowledges progress in some areas, some problems persist. Earlier this month a major fashion designer advertised online for an unpaid intern to work for two to three months ahead of London fashion week show. The hours were 9am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday and the role included design research, sampling and sourcing.
The Huffington Post also posted a blog from Sutton Trust Research Fellow, Dr Rebecca Montacute.