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Unpaid internships for young people

by on February 28, 2012

An interesting article on the trend for unpaid internships for young people. The analysis follows an event hosted yesterday by the UN called ‘Breaking new ground: Partnerships for more and better jobs for young people’.

The conference was organized by the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The article makes a number of points:

– ‘Of the UN agencies participating in the youth conference, only one provides compensation to its interns (the ILO);

– Graduates who have already earned their qualifications are told they are unqualified for professional positions, leaving them little choice but to take on additional internships;

– At most agencies, former interns are required to have a 3-6 month break of contract before they are allowed to start any paid work.

– the United Nations does not recognize internships as a valid form of work experience. Human Resources staff at UNOG tells young people that their time spent as interns counts as half the rate of “real” work experience’.


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