Internships: Your easy route into work

Owen Wright, Digital Marketing Executive at Intern Avenue 

Internships at Reading – your route into work

Have you been put off internships because you think they are unpaid?

Don’t be.

Unpaid internships are illegal. And they’re dying out.

The Law

If you, as an intern, are adding value to a company, you have to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. “Expenses covered” doesn’t cut it. Basically, anyone who isn’t just on under-16 work experience, or shadowing another employee, should be paid for their work. Employers are now realising this and most of them are now paying their interns accordingly.

The Bad Guys

Some are still trying their luck. The Government don’t police it well at the moment, and some industries are worse than others (Fashion, I’m looking at you…)

An unpaid United Nations intern was infamously forced to camp outside their Geneva office as he couldn’t afford rent. The story raised its ugly head again recently, with the UN now under increasing pressure to change their policy. Last week, Ivanka Trump (that name just won’t go away will it?) caused outrage by tweeting about how to live as an unpaid intern, with an article written by her own unpaid intern. The fact that those from wealthier backgrounds are often the only ones who can afford to work unpaid seems to have been lost on ‘daughter-of-a-billionaire’ Ivanka.

However, with the bad press becoming stronger, and the House of Lords now pushing for the law to become tighter, fingers crossed all interns will soon be paid.

Okay, so why should I get one?

The importance of internships when starting your career can’t be overstated. Employers want to see experience on your CV, and interning is a great way to pad your resume out with that valuable experience. Once you have your foot in the door, it will make it so much easier to get that full time graduate job. Of course, if you impress the employer that hires you as an intern, chances are they will convert your internship into a full-time job (or offer you a job after graduation if you are still a student).

The largest employers have realised that they can use internships as a 3-month long ‘interview’, where they get to see you in action in real working situations. After 3 months, they will know whether you are right for them, and so can hire you without the risk of it being a bad hire. Obviously, making sure you work as hard as possible in those 3 months will give you a great chance of securing that graduate job. 90% of PwC’s interns get offered a full-time job upon completion, so it is a great way into these big companies.

Internships are also a great way for you to work out what kind of career you want. They can give you a taste of what is required to succeed in a certain industry, what your colleagues could be like and what the work is actually going to consist of.

I would encourage everybody to complete as many internships as possible. Don’t be put off by negative press or silly celebrities saying you should work for free – there are lots of fantastic paid internships available that can really enhance your CV and your long-term job prospects.”


To help you succeed when applying for internships, we are currently organising a series of Careers sessions called Applying for Internships and Work Experience. We’re running them throughout November so make sure you book your place on to any of the sessions below.

13/11/2018 | 17:00 | Applying for Internships and Work Experience
26/11/2018 | 13:00 | Applying for Internships and Work Experience
04/12/2018 | 13:00 | Applying for Internships and Work Experience
12/12/2018 | 13:00 | Applying for Internships and Work Experience

Intern Avenue is an internship and graduate job platform that advertises paid, quality roles. Our matching technology will show which jobs are relevant to you and your skillset and will inform you when the perfect job becomes available.

This article has been provided by an external organisation, as such the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre.