There is no substitute for real experience of the world of work says arts employment charity The Creative Society (formerly New Deal of the Mind). Unemployment figures out today show that youth unemployment has now broken through the 1m mark and hit a 19 year high. Young people are disproportionately bearing the brunt of the unemployment crisis with one in five 16-24 year olds currently seeking work, compared to a total jobless rate of less than one in ten.
The Creative Society produced an evaluation (PDF) last week of its jobs programme that put over 500 young unemployed people into work in the creative industries across the UK. Using funding from the Department for Work and Pensions Future Jobs Fund scheme, young people on Jobseeker’s Allowance were given six month work placements with arts organisations and provided with training, coaching and networking opportunities.
The findings show the success of giving young people paid work experience. Over 70% of participants on the programme went straight into employment, education or training at the end of their placement. The findings also reveal that many long-term unemployed young people cannot afford to do lengthy unpaid internships, often seen as a necessary step to get a foot on the jobs ladder. 90% of participants would not have been able to take part if the placement had been unpaid.
The value of real work experience is also stressed in a recent report (PDF) by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion that argues for a targeted job subsidy providing paid work placements aimed at young people who are long-term unemployed.
The Creative Society’s founder Martin Bright said: “We know that paid work experience is the best way of getting young unemployed people into a job. We welcome the coalition’s focus on apprenticeships, but more needs to be done to target these at young people. Ultimately, we will need to return to some form of job guarantee for the long-term unemployed. The alternative is to write off a whole generation.”
Sophie Ignatieff, one of our Future Jobs Fund employees now working at the National Theatre, was featured last night on Channel 4 news. The clip highlights the issues around unpaid internships in the arts. It was also good to see Internocracy.org, GraduateFog.co.uk, Internaware.org and Internsanonymous.co.uk all mentioned for their work in this area.
Watch the full clip on Matthew Cain’s blog here: http://blogs.channel4.com/culture/valuable-internship-slave-labour/1850
Matthew finishes his blog post saying the issue of unpaid internships “could even prove to be one of the most significant factors to shape our creative industries in the near future.”
Its great to see some thorough reporting by Channel 4 on this issue.
Below is the full version of Alex Graham’s article that appeared in The Times on Monday 31 October.
Why expect young people to work for no pay?
Top companies must help to break the vicious circle around jobs and experience
This month, unemployment rose to more than 2.5 million — nearly one in 12 of the population. One in three of those unemployed is aged between 16 and 24. Nearly a million young people are now out of work.
Some apparently see this as an opportunity rather than a threat. Once asked why he was advertising for an unpaid intern, Philip Hammond, now the Defence Secretary, put the free market case succinctly: “I would regard it as an abuse of taxpayer funding to pay for something that is available for nothing.”
Unpaid internships have become the principal entry point for young people seeking work in sectors such as the media, the creative industries and Parliament. The trade union Unite calculates that 450 interns carry out around 18,000 hours of unpaid work in Parliament each week.
I run a TV production company, Wall to Wall, that makes some of the most popular shows in the UK, including Who Do You Think You Are? (more…)
There is a piece in The Times today by our trustee Alex Graham calling on top companies to “break the vicious circle around jobs and experience”. Alex runs the TV production company Wall to Wall, that makes some of the most popular shows on UK television, including Who Do You Think You Are? and New Tricks. In the article he points out that unpaid internships are often the first step on the ladder for young people seeking work:
“Unpaid internships have become the principal entry point for young people seeking work in sectors such as the media, the creative industries and Parliament.”
He goes on to say that while it’s appealing to employers to take on people unpaid, it’s a temptation that should be resisted: (more…)
Last week Culture Secretary Minister Jeremy Hunt advertised for a number of unpaid internships to work in his constituency office, prompting a renewed focus on the role of interns in parliament.
There are many merits to the basic idea of an internship and some are of huge value to the individual concerned. However it’s the cumulative effect of offering unpaid internships which is truly worrying: they create a barrier to entry for white-collar jobs that is hard for young people from lower-income backgrounds to overcome.
Unpaid internships have become the principal entry point for young people seeking work in sectors such as (more…)