In Australia, interns rarely get money. College students and potential employees take internships in an effort to skill themselves in the industry they wish to work in and to get a foot in the door.
Problems arise, nevertheless, once the internship gets less about skilling and more about free work. Regarding to that situation, currently there's a situation in Federal Circuit Court wherein two young columnist and sports broadcaster Crocmedia are involved. Crocmedia has had to backpay the interns and might deal with penalties given the “internship” involved working night shifts for seven days out of ten, for 6 months unpaid.
You can hear many same situations related to companies who take advantage on their interns. The eagerness of a youthful willing personality to carry out the jobs that paid staff prefers not to do and the temptation of free labour, is wonderful. But research shows students who have undertaken an internship are more likely to get employed and, in the present situation of youth unemployment and graduate under/unemployment, young people are eager to get a job at all.
Difference between internship and free labor
An extreme movement against internship begins in the US, when a mass media company Conde Nast was associated in an issue regarding their interns in which they have to offer backpay that totals to huge amounts of money. Chances are to expand here as more and more companies hire interns.
Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide Law School, with colleague Professor Rosemary Owens, has been working with the Fair Work Ombudsman for several years to investigate the practice of offering student marketing internships in Australia. This can be distinguished regarding to the kind of internship approved by the Fair Work Ombudsman , he said: is it part of formal study?
There are companies who allows interns and provides the right training to develop their skills, nevertheless some businesses are just relying their labour needs to the unpaid interns.
Furthermore, Professor Stewart highlighted that it's those businesses who engage interns in their business are the firms who are charged and are at stake to be taken into court by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Internships that are part of a subject or training course are not the problem.
Great Internship is Beneficial
The most interesting and valuable internship programs I dealt with as being a journalist educator was when I had the chance to be part of a program operated by the former author of Punch, Tory Maguire. Tory Maguire needs interns requirements that are exactly the same of what he requires to those who will apply for a real job and these involves resume and cover letter. Though senior journalist students know that their works would be not paid, a lot of them are still willing to submit their applications to Maguire.
The Punch was a News Ltd publication and it was avowedly famous, mainly on trend, and a great training ground for young people who wanted to go into mainstream online news. Maguire expects people to be faithful, particular with time, able to carry out the tasks and share his ideas to the organization.
In return, Maguire provides the intern a reviews with regards to their performance. She provided the university reviews. She invested some time to take students from the class to the workplace. She also came to the class to share her insights.
The students didn't stay permanently - the period of time was around eight weeks. The good thing is that all the interns of The Punch gains a lot of skills and knowledge in the course of the program. Majority of them got acknowledgements. Others got part-time works. Whilst others landed with full-time jobs. Then again, there are some who pointed out that journalism is not their calling.
I recall this story because it's the goal for journalism educators: an internship under the supervision of a competent editor that then turns into paid employment. If those interns hadn't turned up, The Punch would still have been printed every day.
Andrew Stewart called me to conduct a final survey to UTS journalism students in 2011 who takes the two part of their degrees as a part of the investigation for the Fair Work Ombudsman. He quotes one of our students in his research:
I wouldn't be where I am today (in an industry I love, working for one of the most respected firms in the industry) without having interned first. The significance of work experience is usually overlooked by people with sense of entitlement.
His survey revealed that 100% of those questioned undertook industry placements in order to better comprehend the business; 66% of people who undertook placements mentioned they were able to go on to paid job as a result of those placements.
These things are not mutually exclusive - you can educate students all the theories in this world, however there's no point if they can't recognize circumstances which they should be applied.
Programs available here