Internships – paid or unpaid?

Still a vexed question it seems. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door, but should anyone work for nothing in this day and age?

I have belatedly come across a report on the subject issued last year by the CIPD; it might interest both graduates and students.

Among its recommendations are:

“The existing apprenticeship minimum wage structure should be converted into a new ‘training wage’, which applies to all apprenticeships and internships. The minimum hourly rate for all apprentices and interns should be set at £2.50 an hour and everyone enrolled on either an apprenticeship or internship would be legally entitled to the new training wage, regardless of industry sector, size of employer or the nature of their work.”


“Through guaranteeing that all interns are paid a minimum of £2.50 an hour, all unpaid internship positions should subsequently be treated as a breach of NMW legislation. Thus, any position that advertises itself as an internship, irrespective of what duties are carried out by the intern, would automatically trigger a legal obligation on the part of the employer to pay at least the training wage throughout the entire duration of the internship.”


Download CIPD Report (PDF)