I have spent the past few hours researching placement schemes, as my degree entails a year in industry. Although I find this exciting, it is also really stressful. I have a passion for charities and businesses which have ethics and corporate social responsibility at their core. So, naturally I am researching these kinds of organisations and what they offer for students. Here’s the problem, lots of them do offer brilliant opportunities! But they’re unpaid..
Now, we have all heard the poorly paid intern horror stories, the huge companies which are able to exploit the ‘fresh meat’ because really, it’s not going to damage their immense profitability. Is this fair? No. Will it change? It should do! I feel that there are thousands of young people that are really talented, but are unable to offer their skills because of lack of realistic opportunities. Of course they could gain amazing connections and new skills which would improve their employability and attractiveness to fantastic organisations. But that’s all long term thinking. Maybe you could argue it is an investment which is worth it. However, how are young people expected to be enthusiastic about placements and post-grad schemes if they might actually lose money and become in even more debt by doing them.
This is not to say I do not believe in volunteering or unpaid work. If you have read my previous posts, you’ll know I feel very strongly about the importance of giving back and contributing to society. I have done lots of voluntary work and love it! However, I feel that I can’t realistically apply to charities (which I would give my right arm to work with) because I can’t realistically manage the logistics of them.
We need companies, charities and society as a whole to invest more into young people’s careers and futures. Because they will be the future CEO’S, fundraisers, marketers, accountants, engineers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, teachers..- we all know that experience is crucial to be good at what you do. But young people also need to be able to afford to take up such opportunities.
Invest because we’re worth it.