Many young people have taken on unpaid work experience or internships in order to get ahead in the jobs market. These have proved controversial, as some say that employers are getting their work done for free.
Watch the video and answer the questions below about it.
1. What does 'four-month internship' refer to?
2. What job was Lucy really doing during her internship?
3. Why did Erica van Rabenswaay sue her employer?
4. What does '12 and a half' refer to?
5. What salary are the interns at The Nation magazine paid?
6. What adjective does the reporter use to describe what competition for jobs is like?
Before Lucy Bickerton started studying to be a doctor, (1) she wanted to produce films, but her first taste of the business, a four-month internship working long hours and getting paid nothing, left her questioning her career choice.
While I was doing my internship, it didn’t really occur to me that I am really doing the work of a (2) production assistant, not this unpaid job, you know, whatever that really means, and… so after I graduated and started getting paid work as production assistant, that I realised that what I’ve done before was really that of a production assistant, what is normally a full-time position with a TV show.
So she sued and won.
I think, yes, you should do work for free sometimes but more like it is a real student situation and a lot of internships these days they are not, they are just entry level positions that are unpaid.
(3) Erica van Rabenswaay should know. She won a legal action against her employer, a New York fashion designer after months of unpaid work.
Exacerbating the trend of unpaid internships is the sheer number of young and jobless. (4) The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 20 and 24 is about 121/2 per cent, five per cent higher than the rates for adults, meaning there is a steady stream of young people that are willing to trade pay for work experience.
In terms of become a kind of disposable cheap labour workforce, many companies simply use them to kind of, you know, fill in at particularly busy times or an extra project, and I think there’s a kind of, there’s been a sort of disingenuous use of interns that has cropped up and, you know, companies and certain industries in particular realise that they can take advantage of young people.
As a result of the litigious interns, some companies are abandoning their unpaid programmes altogether, but not here. (5) These interns at The Nation magazine are the first to earn a minimum wage. Instead of legal action, their predecessors published this letter to their own editor, successfully convincing their boss to pay them more than just a stipend.
We should be addressing the problem of young people, pathways to opportunity and offering internships which are educational and opportunity-driven but have at their core a fairness of a certain set of payments commencing with the work.
Competition for jobs is (6) fierce, particularly for the young, those entering the workplace want to find a job, just one that actually pays.
Simone Hussein, BBC News, New York.