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Young people deserve better than this

(84 Posts)
yoyoyoy Tue 03-Oct-17 13:48:07

My daughter is looking for her first career type job after finishing University so applied for a job that she felt would make use of her degree . She was called to an interview with them where she was told that a paid role was probably going to be available in the future but in the mean time could she do some unpaid work experience for them for an unspecified period .She told them that she could do a couple of weeks w/e but was unable to commit to any more unpaid work as she needed money to live on , she asked if a paid job was definitely going to happen and on this they were vague . She argued with them that if she committed to unpaid w/e with no end date they had no incentive to offer a paid job . They also told her that weekend work was often required even when on w/e with no mention of time off in lieu so basically 7 out of 7 .AIBU to think that this sort of unpaid w/e is all very well if Mummy and Daddy are loaded but for normal working class kids this is impossible to do ,it seems like cheap labour . Is this just a way to make sure that only the "right sort" of middle class kids get these sort of jobs as clearly not all parents can afford to let their children live rent free for months (I am on a very limited income). I am very upset for her as the job itself (if indeed there was one)seemed perfect for her skills and experience .

Fannylodger Tue 03-Oct-17 13:50:26

YANBU but tbh I would advise her to take on even a part time job in something else even retail, while she looks for the position she wants. I think that's the best way to go about it as depending on the career she may face this barrier for a while

treaclesoda Tue 03-Oct-17 13:52:28

I think YANBU , but I suspect that a lot of people will say that if she is committed to want to enter that field then she should be prepared to work for free. (Although I am totally baffled as to how she is actually meant to meet her day to day essential living costs in the meantime).

breakabletoy Tue 03-Oct-17 13:54:29

What's the job?

Unpaid internships are common in certain sectors like media and arts, where there are a lot of people fighting over scant job opportunities and companies can basically demand whatever they want in return for a "foot in the door"

phoenix1973 Tue 03-Oct-17 13:54:36

Yanbu. It's worse than the old YTS days. Though at least with her degree she has prospects. She should keep applying and get some sort of income even if unrelated while she applies.
I would not want to work for free....let alone with no timeframe. Piss takers!

PieOnEar Tue 03-Oct-17 13:57:01


In fact, I'm a university student doing an unpaid admin role because I'm hoping it will at least get me an interview after years of working in mental jobs.

I wish they at least paid me something. I'm a single mother fgs.

livefornaps Tue 03-Oct-17 13:57:30

Welcome to the modern job market.

So many careers shut off to poorer kids because of unpaid internships dressed up as "free training" and sold on the basis that "if you really want this, you will somehow make it work". Hence a lot of kids working full time in these exploitative positions for nothing and then all weekend in an effort to keep their heads above water.

Your daughter should research "ways in" to the career she wants without being completely taken for a ride. Try to talk to people who got into the industry - and ask for frank answers, preferably from people who aren't too much older and so likely to offer answers like "I got a good degree that was free and then walked into my dream job"...

Depending on these answers, she should look at where the money is at. Who will pat for further training (like schemes such as teach first?) Who is offering good money for grad schemes/entry level jobs (eg. big four)

It's tough out there, so it's time to be canny

PieOnEar Tue 03-Oct-17 13:57:40

Menial jobs*

yoyoyoy Tue 03-Oct-17 13:59:01

NGO type work but not a charity

livefornaps Tue 03-Oct-17 14:04:10

In which case she needs to start networking and asking questions. Everyone I know in that sector did long stints of unpaid stuff (even interns at the UN get Nada...wonderful). She really needs to get a feel for who is actually making it and what did they do to get there. Sadly, like soooo much in life, a lot of it boils down to "contacts". But she should see if there aren't any free networking events, or talks or lectures that are likely to draw a crowd from that sector and then she should go, put on a smile, be brave and get on it.

Youcanttaketheskyfromme Tue 03-Oct-17 14:06:25

That's pretty terrible.

And I say that as someone who did some part time work for free before being offered the role full time. The difference for me was it was a way to get to know the company and the work for a few hours a week not an unpaid full time skivy!

And they never promised me a job - they didn't dangle anything in front of me like a carrot - it was entirely my choice to volunteer with them.

Luckily a job did become available and it was offered to me first.

yoyoyoy Tue 03-Oct-17 14:07:33

Thanks for the responses so far , they are helping me get a bit of perspective on the situation which as you can imagine has been a bit gloom and despondency

livefornaps Tue 03-Oct-17 14:17:10

Did she do any volunteering or anything during her degree?

I think it's important to make the distinction between volunteering for organizations and these unpaid internships. Volunteering should only be for a set amount of time each week, depending on how much someone is available. Even people with full time jobs volunteer with stuff!

If she hasn't already, your daughter should think about volunteering as part of project(s) where she will be able to show initiative which later, at interview, she will be able to talk about easily.

5rivers7hills Tue 03-Oct-17 14:19:43

So many careers shut off to poorer kids because of unpaid internships dressed up as "free training" and sold on the basis that "if you really want this, you will somehow make it work". Hence a lot of kids working full time in these exploitative positions for nothing and then all weekend in an effort to keep their heads above water.


Oh, you're parents don't live in London and eat enough to let you live rent free and give you an allowance? Kiss goodbye to a career in publishing / journalism / other sectors.

It's bulkshit. Fucks the poor even more.

HoneyIshrunkthebiscuit Tue 03-Oct-17 14:21:12

It should be illegal.

The irony of the 'End Modern Day Slavery' charity advertising for an unpaid intern will never not amuse me though.

Birdsgottafly Tue 03-Oct-17 14:22:11

I think that it now starts before they get that far.

My DD has LD's and was Statemented at school. The new EHC plans are harder to get and judged differently.

Because she had to spend longer getting to a Level 2 Course and is now 19, she has to self fund, because it's not on the Governments list of paid Courses. It is Professional Cookery, which guarantees her work in our low employment City.

We are having to find £2k.

Keeping young people in Education means a lot of wasted money, because they don't want to be there and can drop out. Whereas the teens who want to be there are having to self fund and suffer them.

If you pass a different Level 2 approved Course (that won't lead to a job), you get funded.

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 03-Oct-17 14:33:17

I did a part time job in retail when I graduated. I even had office experience and could type. There was no work in my university town as I graduated during the recession in ‘93.

I agree with doing something, anything to get some work experience. I can absolutely see her reluctance to do this job for free.

Perhaps your dd will have to move to get work.

She could offer to do some work for the local mp? At least that way she wouldn’t feel exploited as this type of work is just experience and she’s offering as opposed to being expected.

expatinscotland Tue 03-Oct-17 14:33:36


silkpyjamasallday Tue 03-Oct-17 14:33:59

Out of my peers who have graduated, it is only those from very wealthy backgrounds who have graduate level jobs in their chosen field. Those from working class backgrounds or with parents who can't afford to support their adult child on unpaid internships are doing menial jobs, working in bars/Starbucks etc. One of DPs ridiculously wealthy mates got an internship at sky through his dad, and quit after less than a week because he didn't want to fetch coffee and do photocopying. He just drifts from amazing opportunity to amazing opportunity never really bothering, when so many people would kill for the chances he has been offered. His flakiness doesn't affect him getting yet another internship whenever he wants.

Often it is only those whose parents have connections in their chosen industry who can even get work experience. I was pretty miffed while at uni that I got turned down for every single gallery I applied for work experience at (and I had masses of relevant previous experience and have been working since 14) - they either didn't reply or they say they haven't got insurance for interns. But my friend whose brother is a fairly well known artist and whose parents buy art from the big name commercial galleries had no problem gaining internships at multiple places I had applied to despite having no previous experience. Was a major kick in the teeth for me and having spent time with people who work in the art industry it is all about who you know, nothing much else counts.

Nepotism should be made illegal in my opinion. Equality of opportunity simply does not exist in so many industries and people giving their children/friends children jobs simply perpetuates the class divide.

I think it's time people reevaluated the need for so many graduates. My school sold the idea that once you had a degree it would be easy to find work, that a degree was the ticket to any job you fancied but my observation has certainly not confirmed this.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 03-Oct-17 14:52:02

NGO type work but not a charity Hmmmm.

If she's interested, she'd be much better off finding an actual NGO/charity to volunteer with while she's looking. I had to do a couple of stints as a volunteer before getting into non-profit work. And that was in the 80s.

DerelictWreck Tue 03-Oct-17 15:45:07

It should be illegal

It is illegal now! Have a look at [ this] advice on the website. All workers should now be paid the National Minimum Wage on work experience except for a placement as part of a course, or if they're working for a charity they must work for a charity or voluntary organisation and get expenses paid.

Does it fall into this category OP?

DerelictWreck Tue 03-Oct-17 15:45:37

Whoops! Link fail - this might work?

Ttbb Tue 03-Oct-17 15:53:21

But it's not like employers have no paid work at all or that they require you to do unpaid w/e in order to get the job. They're trying to help her, clearly she isn't qualified enough to get the job. Most people do the unpaid w/e while they are doing their degree in order to then be able to get a job. If she didn't plan ahead she has no one but herself to blame. She'll just have to try to get as much unpaid work experience as possible while working some other job until she has enough to make someone want to hire her. Finishing a university degree doesn't entitle you to a job.

Creambun2 Tue 03-Oct-17 15:59:24

This is how the tories want it. Just amother way to keep the working classes down. My sister is senior in advertising and started as paid grad level. Now at her agency you have to intern for months to get in. Such schemes hugely discriminate on location too, most interns are of course coming in from parental homes within commuting distance of london.

coddiwomple Tue 03-Oct-17 16:02:11

It depends what the "job" is.

If she is employed and as useful to the company as anyone else, then of course she should be paid accordingly. Companies should not be replacing paid workers by free staff.

if she in employed as an intern, who basically need to have someone to hold her hand, monitor her, and train her, than YABU. It can be very valuable to have (unpaid) internship on your CV, within the right company.

You cannot stop nepotism, anyone would help their own children first. You chose people you know first!

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