FEATURE: Internships Exposed

Global Opportunities


Why do Global Opportunities offer bursaries so students can do an internship abroad?

Cardiff University have a strategic aim to send students abroad during their time at university.
The institutional target is currently set at 30% of UK students to spend three or more weeks abroad during their degree by 2030. Global Opportunities (GO) are entirely funded by the University and, as travel is a desired addition to studies, offers a range of funding in order to make the programmes accessible to as many people as possible.The most popular options are the International Summer Programmes which do not contribute to degree credit. As such, there is no academic funding, however, GO is funded by your tuition fees – so the bursaries they provide mean we really are getting value for money.

Chris Gale, International Summer Programmes Manager said, “The main reason we send people abroad is employability, it develops a wide-ranging set of skills including cultural awareness, global networking, increased confidence and the ability to adapt to a different environment”.

Why aren’t Global Opportunities’ bursaries means-tested?

Global Opportunities do not means test their bursaries for a few reasons. Means testing is a difficult and laborious process for many students and even then it’s an imperfect system. Some students benefit and others don’t. By taking a consistent approach to funding, all students know where they stand. If you’re already in receipt of the Cardiff bursary, then an additional £200 is provided. There is also more funding available for disabled students.

Chris Gale said, “Ultimately, we want to make these programmes as accessible as possible, and because it’s not part of the university course, it’s difficult to justify means testing. As an extra-curricular activity, we aren’t comfortable asking students to pay too much.”

How do Global Opportunities justify the decision to offer unpaid internships?

At Global Opportunities, the preference is always to offer paid internships. When the student is unpaid, then ultimately GO are paying for a student to work for free. However, when looking at the masses of benefits including personal development and sector-based experience, it doesn’t seem to be such a bad deal.

Chris Gale said “At Global Opportunities, we aren’t always comfortable about the fact that some of the internships we offer are paid, and some unpaid.

“We’re at the mercy of the employer, although we ask them to offer a stipend as a minimum.
“When you step outside of the UK law into the rest of the world, the internship provider is not always legally required to provide a salary for a short-term placement”.

How do Global Opportunities ensure students are not exploited by these internships?

Global Opportunities are very careful with who they work with, principally working with internship providers who are reputable such as the British Council, and those with which they are fully aware of their procedures.
Chris Gale explained “during an internship, the general idea is that students will be given a project for a set time period, at both a suitable work level for the intern and company.

“That way the workload is not too low, such as making tea for the office, nor is it too high that it becomes stressful. We are careful that the workload is carefully managed so as not to become exploitative.”




37.5%

of unpaid students thought they should have been paid during their internship

50%

of students did an internship lasting longer than a month

22.7%

of students were paid in expenses only

*survey conducted by Gair Rhydd on Cardiff University students

“Anything unpaid is not an internship”

Gair Rhydd spoke to Jem Collins, director of Journo Resources, about the difference in work experience and internships.

“To begin with, there is a massive difference between work experience and internships, but people often get it confused. Work experience is for a short timeframe within a business. The main focus should be learning and understanding the business. Perhaps you’ll try some things that people do as part of their work, but the crucial part is it isn’t work, and the company would still function without you.”

Where work experience should last a week or two, an internship is a junior job focused on development. It is a role that is not only integral to the business, but also paid. Internships could last from a month to a year. Any longer than a year and you’re verging on the territory of a more senior role, and should have a higher wage.

“Both work experience and paid internships are a brilliant way to grow your skills. Even if you’re doing a practical course I don’t think there’s any real replacement for going into a work place. Not only do you pick up practical skills, but you also work out if the industry is the right thing for you.”

There is an issue of exploitation among internships. Employers try to dress unpaid internships in a disguise of learning but, for the most part, it’s a front for gaining free work. By doing this, employers are ignoring the inequalities they’re creating.

Jem believes that students should feel empowered to challenge unpaid internships, with both moral and business arguments into why they’re destructive.

“There’s a growing movement that rejects unpaid internships, and you can report them anonymously to websites such Graduate Frog. There are also lots of places that don’t advertise unpaid internships such as Journo Resources, Gorkana, Mediargh in the media, and Living Wage Interns too.”

With unpaid internships exploiting young people’s labour, and putting them in situations of financial difficulty, it begs the question as to whether young people are having to be exploited in order to make progress in their career.

Unpaid internships are difficult without financial support from parents or a sponsor. They result in an unequal spread of young people gaining experience in the workplace that often puts working class students at a disadvantage.

Ultimately, I did an internship for the experience and getting good contacts, as well as putting something else on my CV.”

An internship was compulsory as part of my course, as well as the fact that internships and work experience are essential if you want to get a job.”

I did an internship to gain experience working with professional TV broadcasting equipment with my work uploaded to BBC iPlayer. As an entry
level job, it seemed to be a perfect and worthwhile experience which allowed me to add my work to a portfolio.”

From Unpaid to Paid: My Work Experience
by Emma Videan

After spending the summer of my first year on various beaches, I chose to use the time between my second and final year at university interning. Originally, I organised three weeks of unpaid work experience at a PR agency that I had previously worked with in Cardiff. However as I would be living at home in Surrey, I was placed in the smaller, London office.

I then planned to spend the rest of the summer completing a paid internship, three days a week at a small agency in Surrey. Unfortunately, this was postponed at short notice due to logistical issues within the agency itself.

Luckily, when my work experience ended I was offered a four month paid contract with the London agency for the remainder of the summer. I decided to take the internship, as I needed to earn money.

The experience I gained working at the agency for nearly five months was invaluable. I’ve learnt skills that have boosted my CV massively and will hopefully make me more employable in the future. On the other hand, working so hard was very stressful and took a huge toll on me. I was spending three hours per day commuting to and from Central London and worked over my lunch breaks. I was absolutely exhausted when I eventually got home, plus a quarter of my paycheck went on travel costs and so I didn’t make a huge amount of money in the long run.

Despite these factors, working so hard really paid off for me, I went to client meetings, worked on one of the largest accounts that the agency held and got a fantastic insight into the workings of a PR agency. It was also made very clear to me that should I want to return, I should keep in contact and give them a call in March.

In my opinion, working hard will always pay off in the long run, however I would not have taken the job if it was unpaid and think than even when interns are paid, it is at a fraction of what they deserve.


INTERNSHIPS
EXPOSED

By Jess Warren

 

Global Opportunities

Why do Global Opportunities offer bursaries so students can do an internship abroad?

Cardiff University have a strategic aim to send students abroad during their time at university.
The institutional target is currently set at 30% of UK students to spend three or more weeks abroad during their degree by 2030. Global Opportunities (GO) are entirely funded by the University and, as travel is a desired addition to studies, offers a range of funding in order to make the programmes accessible to as many people as possible.The most popular options are the International Summer Programmes which do not contribute to degree credit. As such, there is no academic funding, however, GO is funded by your tuition fees – so the bursaries they provide mean we really are getting value for money.

Chris Gale, International Summer Programmes Manager said, “The main reason we send people abroad is employability, it develops a wide-ranging set of skills including cultural awareness, global networking, increased confidence and the ability to adapt to a different environment”.

Why aren’t Global Opportunities’ bursaries means-tested?

Global Opportunities do not means test their bursaries for a few reasons. Means testing is a difficult and laborious process for many students and even then it’s an imperfect system. Some students benefit and others don’t. By taking a consistent approach to funding, all students know where they stand. If you’re already in receipt of the Cardiff bursary, then an additional £200 is provided. There is also more funding available for disabled students.

Chris Gale said, “Ultimately, we want to make these programmes as accessible as possible, and because it’s not part of the university course, it’s difficult to justify means testing. As an extra-curricular activity, we aren’t comfortable asking students to pay too much.”

How do Global Opportunities justify the decision to offer unpaid internships?

At Global Opportunities, the preference is always to offer paid internships. When the student is unpaid, then ultimately GO are paying for a student to work for free. However, when looking at the masses of benefits including personal development and sector-based experience, it doesn’t seem to be such a bad deal.

Chris Gale said “At Global Opportunities, we aren’t always comfortable about the fact that some of the internships we offer are paid, and some unpaid.

“We’re at the mercy of the employer, although we ask them to offer a stipend as a minimum.
“When you step outside of the UK law into the rest of the world, the internship provider is not always legally required to provide a salary for a short-term placement”.

How do Global Opportunities ensure students are not exploited by these internships?

Global Opportunities are very careful with who they work with, principally working with internship providers who are reputable such as the British Council, and those with which they are fully aware of their procedures.
Chris Gale explained “during an internship, the general idea is that students will be given a project for a set time period, at both a suitable work level for the intern and company.

“That way the workload is not too low, such as making tea for the office, nor is it too high that it becomes stressful. We are careful that the workload is carefully managed so as not to become exploitative.”




































37.5%

of unpaid students thought they should have been paid during their internship

50%

of students did an internship lasting longer than a month

22.7%


of students were paid in expenses only

*survey conducted by Gair Rhydd on Cardiff University students

“Anything unpaid is not an internship”

Gair Rhydd spoke to Jem Collins, director of Journo Resources, about the difference in work experience and internships.

“To begin with, there is a massive difference between work experience and internships, but people often get it confused. Work experience is for a short timeframe within a business. The main focus should be learning and understanding the business. Perhaps you’ll try some things that people do as part of their work, but the crucial part is it isn’t work, and the company would still function without you.”

Where work experience should last a week or two, an internship is a junior job focused on development. It is a role that is not only integral to the business, but also paid. Internships could last from a month to a year. Any longer than a year and you’re verging on the territory of a more senior role, and should have a higher wage.

“Both work experience and paid internships are a brilliant way to grow your skills. Even if you’re doing a practical course I don’t think there’s any real replacement for going into a work place. Not only do you pick up practical skills, but you also work out if the industry is the right thing for you.”

There is an issue of exploitation among internships. Employers try to dress unpaid internships in a disguise of learning but, for the most part, it’s a front for gaining free work. By doing this, employers are ignoring the inequalities they’re creating.

Jem believes that students should feel empowered to challenge unpaid internships, with both moral and business arguments into why they’re destructive.

“There’s a growing movement that rejects unpaid internships, and you can report them anonymously to websites such Graduate Frog. There are also lots of places that don’t advertise unpaid internships such as Journo Resources, Gorkana, Mediargh in the media, and Living Wage Interns too.”

With unpaid internships exploiting young people’s labour, and putting them in situations of financial difficulty, it begs the question as to whether young people are having to be exploited in order to make progress in their career.

Unpaid internships are difficult without financial support from parents or a sponsor. They result in an unequal spread of young people gaining experience in the workplace that often puts working class students at a disadvantage.





Ultimately, I did an internship for the experience and
getting good contacts, as well as putting something else
on my CV.







An internship was compulsory as part of my course, as
well as the fact that internships and work
experience are essential if you want to get a job.









I did an internship to gain experience working with
professional TV broadcasting equipment with
my work uploaded to BBC iPlayer. As an entry
level job, it seemed to be a perfect and
worthwhile experience which allowed me to add
my work to a portfolio.


From Unpaid to Paid: My Work Experience

by Emma Videan

After spending the summer of my first year on various beaches, I chose to use the time between my second and final year at university interning. Originally, I organised three weeks of unpaid work experience at a PR agency that I had previously worked with in Cardiff. However as I would be living at home in Surrey, I was placed in the smaller, London office.

I then planned to spend the rest of the summer completing a paid internship, three days a week at a small agency in Surrey. Unfortunately, this was postponed at short notice due to logistical issues within the agency itself.

Luckily, when my work experience ended I was offered a four month paid contract with the London agency for the remainder of the summer. I decided to take the internship, as I needed to earn money.

The experience I gained working at the agency for nearly five months was invaluable. I’ve learnt skills that have boosted my CV massively and will hopefully make me more employable in the future. On the other hand, working so hard was very stressful and took a huge toll on me. I was spending three hours per day commuting to and from Central London and worked over my lunch breaks. I was absolutely exhausted when I eventually got home, plus a quarter of my paycheck went on travel costs and so I didn’t make a huge amount of money in the long run.

Despite these factors, working so hard really paid off for me, I went to client meetings, worked on one of the largest accounts that the agency held and got a fantastic insight into the workings of a PR agency. It was also made very clear to me that should I want to return, I should keep in contact and give them a call in March.

In my opinion, working hard will always pay off in the long run, however I would not have taken the job if it was unpaid and think than even when interns are paid, it is at a fraction of what they deserve.






Credits


Authors

Jess Warren
Emma Videan

Online Production

Michael Ash

Editor

Michael Ash

Publication Date

11 October 2018

All images used with permission.

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