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Internships

University used to be a simple transition from the world of academia into the world of work. Graduate with a good degree, send a few applications out, attend a few interviews and all being well you’d have yourself a graduate job by the end of the summer.

But now the concept of interning has become endemic as the accepted career path to follow in order to get that graduate job. A poll commissioned by the National Union of Students (NUS), carried out by YouGov, found 73% of people aged between 18 and 24 state that internships are a vital first step for a career. Not all internships are unpaid and the Chartered Institute of Personnel figures found that there are up to 70,000 internships a year and between 10,000 and 15,000 of these are unpaid.

University used to be a simple transition from the world of academia into the world of work. Graduate with a good degree, send a few applications out, attend a few interviews and all being well you’d have yourself a graduate job by the end of the summer. But now the concept of interning has become endemic as the accepted career path to follow in order to get that graduate job.

A poll commissioned by the National Union of Students (NUS), carried out by YouGov, found 73% of people aged between 18 and 24 state that internships are a vital first step for a career. Not all internships are unpaid and the Chartered Institute of Personnel figures found that there are up to 70,000 internships a year and between 10,000 and 15,000 of these are unpaid.

Internships have no legal status within employment law; they are defined by the worker’s employment status.

GOV.UK defines employment status as:

Worker: Workers have a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward (your contract doesn’t have to be written). The reward for this is money or a benefit in kind, e.g. the promise of a contract or future work.

Employee: An employee is someone who works under an employment contract. Employees are different from workers because they receive rights and responsibilities such as Statutory Sick Pay, maternity/paternity pay, and statutory redundancy pay.

Volunteer: Most volunteers don’t have a contract of employment, so don’t have the rights of an employee or worker. They are usually given a volunteer agreement that explains the level of supervision and support they’ll get. The volunteer contract isn’t compulsory, but sets out what volunteers can expect from the organisation.

If the intern is classed under ‘worker’ then they are entitled to the National Minimum Wage which is currently set at £6.19 for ages 21 and above. This has risen to £6.31 in October 2013.

Internships may seem the ideal route into the specific industry but be sure to check what you may be entitled to.
 











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