AMONG the recommendations of the latest report of the Social
Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is the abolition of unpaid
internships, "through legislation if necessary", by 2020.
It describes the growth in internships - more than a quarter of
employers use unpaid interns - as "the biggest change in the
professional labour market over recent years". "All too often they
are", it says, "recruited on the basis of who, not what, you know"
and "lock out talent from entering a chosen career". In future,
they should be "openly advertised and fairly paid".
A poll of businesses conducted by YouGov for Intern Aware found
that 65 per cent would welcome a ban on unpaid internships of more
than four weeks.
Last week, Christian organisations responded to a request for
information about their internships.
The think tank Theos says that it pays interns the London Living
Wage. A spokeswoman said that this was in place "to open up access
to as wide a pool of applicants as possible, and secondly to
recognise the valuable contribution interns make to our
organisation while they're with us".
The Evangelical Alliance confirmed that it paid "at least the
living wage" to interns.
Tearfund said that internships were a part-time form of
voluntary work, designed to enable those that undertook them to
continue paid employment. Travel costs were paid.
Christian Aid offers a ten-month intern programme. This includes
a weekly subsistence living allowance. Accommodation, travel costs,
utilities, and bills are covered, and interns are supported in
finding suitable accommodation.