Internships: what is to be done?

Peter Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Internships have become a controversial feature of the youth labour market in recent years. In theory, an internship is a period of work experience, intended to inculcate employment-related skills useful in obtaining a longer-term position in a desired occupation. The term 'intern' is often used ambiguously: perhaps deliberately so (Perlin, 2010: 23-26). Is an intern someone who is learning about the world of work in general, receiving training, or actually contributing 'real' work? Depending on one's answers to the above questions, what might the employment rights of an intern be? Some commentators refer to work placements undertaken as part of higher education courses as internships, but this seems to confuse matters, so these are excluded here. This article considers the current state of the debate in the UK about internships and the various solutions proposed to the public policy problems they present. We conclude that the cultivation of ambiguity about internships should cease, and that employers should decide whether they are offering training or jobs, and then act accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-8
Number of pages3
JournalHR Bulletin: Research and Practice
Volume7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

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