All work and no pay

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My niece is coming to the end of a 3-month internship with a fashion retailer in London. She has had to rent a flat (luckily a walk away from the office) and live on very little for the privilege of gaining work experience in this highly competitive field. I don’t know yet if the long hours she has put in will pay off, either in gaining full-time work with this company or in adding a sprinkle of magic dust to her CV which will impress potential employers. However, I do know that there are hordes of other interns queuing up to step into her shoes when she’s finished her stint there.

So the question in my mind is whether this is a great opportunity to prove yourself, or merely a cynical exercise in exploitation by canny companies in a recession? Surely these graduates, some at masters level, are worth even a minimum wage?

If you have time, the following piece by the BBC explores the issues further, reporting that some career ‘advisors’ are taking advantage of graduates keen to enter the workplace by charging extortionate fees for introductions http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8355714.stm

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