Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

‘Graduates should never trade their basic rights as workers’: Prospects responds to Sutton Trust research

Prospects, the university sector agency responsible for student and graduate employability, responds to new Sutton Trust research on graduate internships.

Chris Rea, Higher Education Services Manager at Prospects, said: “While it’s welcome news that graduate internships are growing, it’s disappointing that so many graduates continue to work unpaid.

“Graduates should never trade their basic right to be paid for the promise of skills development, great experiences and an enhanced CV. The world’s fifth largest economy should be more than capable of providing both.

“Graduate internships have become a fixture in the recruitment landscape over the last ten years. They come in many shapes and sizes and in all industry sectors but there is one non-negotiable fact about graduate internships – they absolutely must, in all circumstances, be paid.

“Unpaid internships are the scourge of the graduate labour market. They inhibit social mobility, trap graduates in a cycle of hopelessness and damage their self-esteem.”

In addition to its own long-standing work experience and internship portfolio, Prospects manages the government-supported Graduate Talent Pool, an online service that matches employers with graduate interns. 

Graduate Talent Pool banned unpaid internship opportunities from the site in 2011 and has worked with organisations such as Intern Aware to raise awareness about the issue amongst students, graduates and employers.