Whether called internships or placements, these schemes damage the economy as well as young people’s prospects
Labour MP Chuka Umunna didn’t set out to cause controversy when he advertised a student placement role in his office. Until the advert was picked up by the Graduate Fog website, which campaigns for fair internships and better treatment of graduates by employers, nobody thought there would be an issue. After all, while it’s Labour party policy to ban unpaid internships, “placement schemes” are different. Aren’t they?
The rationale seems to be that because such placements are part of a student’s education, they are different from internships and thus shouldn’t be subject to the same rules. Perhaps, in the best cases, placements can play the role that their advocates say they do. Making them unpaid, however, certainly puts temptation in an employer’s path.