Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

London internships 'unaffordable'

The high cost of living in London means most young people cannot afford to take up an unpaid internship in the city

Most young people cannot afford to take up an unpaid internship in London because of the high cost of living in the capital, according to new research.

A survey of over 1,000 people aged between 18 and 34 showed that four out of five couldn't afford to live away from home, so that only those from affluent families could even consider an internship.

The study, released ahead of Saturday's TUC young members' conference, showed that only one in 10 would consider taking up an unpaid internship in London.

TUC Assistant General Secretary Kay Carberry will say: "This week unemployment amongst 16 to 24-year-olds nudged towards the million mark again. With many youngsters finding it impossible to even get interviews for jobs, their lack of work experience means that they are losing out to older job hunters with more experience.

"Of course, internships can be a good thing - young people can get valuable experience and a route into a career - but all too often internships are about exploitation, staff being undercut, and employers benefiting from a huge pool of cheap and willing labour.

"Internships are essentially a finishing school for the upper middle class - with exclusive access to key contacts, networks and opportunities in the top professions. That's unfair and it's bad for social mobility."

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