Unpaid internships shouldn’t exist – The Cougar


Santiago Gaughan / The Cougar

Unpaid internships are all too familiar to more students. It’s a way for students to gain experience and learn about the field of work they want to go into, but it’s also a way for companies to tap into students.

Internships come from learning which date back to the 1000s. Apprentices generally lived with their boss craftsman and worked for free. The reward was that they would be admitted to the guild as professionals.

The phenomenon of unpaid internships is similar but with much less reward. At the time, it was expected that apprentices would graduate to become professional artisans who could earn a salary. Nowadays, an unpaid intern can do an internship with a company for an entire year and leave the company with nothing but a letter of recommendation.

In the early 1900s, the business world begin use internships, ensure that young people are their messengers or their copiers. Then the 1960s came and formal internships begin become what they are today.

Often companies use internships recruit people. People would start as interns and would probably be hired if all went well. As internships became more popular, students only had to fill out their resumes with work experience.

Companies now see all these enthusiastic students and realize that if they offer students an internship for their CV, they can get free labor.

There was a strict criteria for what an internship was. The internships had to be educational, beneficial to the intern, not to displace employees, the employer did not derive any benefit from the intern and the intern was not entitled to a job or a salary.

Now the guidelines are much more flexible, without any overriding guidelines, and many employers benefit from having an intern work for free. Indeed, many employers to rent interns to take over from employees going on vacation during the summer. It does not appear that the employer’s motives are in the best interests of the intern.

Unpaid internships are also very unregulated, often allowing companies to illegally have unpaid interns. There were several instances where interns successfully sued different companies for exploitation, such as NBC, Lions Gate and Viacom.

Thus, unpaid internships are very risky as to their legality or not. They are also unrealistic for many people. An unpaid internship can take the time of a full-time job, making it difficult for poorer students who may need additional sources of income. It is difficult to reconcile a full-time internship, a job and a school.

However, internships are mostly expected on resumes now. Although many internships are paid, they pay very little, and depending on the sector in which you want to work, you may not have a choice whether your internships are paid or not.

Ultimately, an intern works for a company and deserves to be paid for their work. If the regulation of internships does not improve, it should be illegal for interns not to be paid.

Anna Baker is an English elder who can be reached at [email protected]

Key words: college, intern, internship, work


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