In an environment where youth unemployment is close to 20% in some states, it’s not surprising that those who choose a path of an internship to gain experience end up bitter, and often without the professional employment they were seeking at the end.
Take the case of Roland, a recent Masters graduate from the University of Melbourne.
Roland works three casual jobs to pay his bills, but like many graduates he desires a job in his field.
Roland completed an internship as part of his Masters program, and is determined not to take another unpaid internship position just to gain ‘experience’ while also being on Newstart.
A worrying trend
What’s happening to Roland is a worrying trend for young Australians having completed university and a precursor to being exploited in a tough job market.
Many young Australians have either undertaken an internship or met someone who has. What most of these people have in common is that these internships would have been unpaid.
As the youth employment rate rises in most states to it’s highest level in 20 years, there are also those who feel they can take advantage of young job seekers, by charging up to $2000 for the experience of being an unpaid intern.
Now, an advocacy group for intern rights—Interns Australia—are taking up the fight, championing the right for an intern’s fair pay for productive work and building awareness amongst employers, industry, unions, government, and the community.
Interns Australia is a fledgling organisation, but that won’t keep them down.