One, two, three. How many internships do I really need?

05 September 2014

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There are a growing number of graduates who are completing more than one internship in the hope of getting ‘a foot in the door’ to competitive industries like fashion, finance and public relations. [1] This is raising concerns over just how many internships graduates should take on, particularly when the ‘experience’ is unpaid.

Although good quality internships can be great news for recent graduates and businesses, some can leave young people out of pocket and with no better chance of getting a job.

The London Assembly’s Economy Committee has launched a survey to ask young Londoners about their internships, find out if they are paid, which sectors are using interns, and whether internships really do lead to jobs.

Stephen Knight, Economy Committee Assembly Member said,

“Good quality internships are an opportunity to bridge the gap between education and employment and, if done properly, they can really benefit both the intern and the employer.

“We know that internships are becoming increasingly common in London, but nobody really knows how many there are, and whether they help young people launch their careers. This survey will give us a greater understanding of how interns are being treated in our city and help encourage the Mayor to promote good quality internships in London.”

Current and former interns have told the Committee that some internships were poorly run, offered limited guidance or useful experience and added little to their employment prospects.

Adam Driscoll, former intern in the sports science industry said, [2]

“My third internship was so bad it actually turned me off working in the industry.

“After taking a degree in sports science and completing a professional accreditation, my unpaid internships rarely gave me the opportunity to practice my skills in the workplace.”


Notes to editors:

National Union of Students gave an update to the London Assembly Economy Committee at a meeting in March 2014, on the number of people completing internships, compared to previous generations

The Internship Survey:

The London Assembly Economy Committee spoke to four interns about their experience in completing an internship. The minutes and webcast from the meeting are available online.

Stephen Knight AM, Economy Committee Assembly Member, is available for interview. See contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Alice Andrewartha in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603. For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.



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