Karen Lomas
January 28, 2017

Students doing Unpaid Work

Many students are doing unpaid work. This can be an advantageous arrangement with an employer, as it is well accepted that many unpiad jobs, or internships, turn into paid employment.

However, unpaid work is not accessible to everyone, according to key findings of a Department of Employment report.

Who is doing unpaid work, and why?

It’s students, our kids, who are often finding themselves either obliged to work for nothing because they have to complete internships, or are doing unpaid work because employers are saying that’s the way they must make their start in the company.

Students are doing unpaid work as part of internships, either during or at the end of their higher education courses.The reason for accepting this sort of arrangement is that:

  • it offers the young person the chance to experience the world of work when the employer might not in fact have any vacancies.
  • it provides the student with the opportunity to build a network.
  • often an internship can turn into paid employment if your child does a great job and a position becomes available.

More often than not the student has to seek out and secure an internship themselves and they’re really hard to come by. The best way to get an internship is to have a great resume, write an amazing covering letter and to use a network of contacts to find suitable organisations to target. The students who get the internships are the ones who have good skills in these elements, or who receive training and support in developing these key career skills. As the government report states, not all students and young people have access to these opportunities.

Meanwhile, students must be really careful organising unpaid work. Even the most well respected organisations can be careless, or even exploitative Realistically, this can actually amount to illegal practices.

Your child may be unused to a conversation that is about negotiating terms of an arrangement; they may never have had any job. It is best to ensure that they are fully aware of the pitfalls and also the benefits of unpaid work.

Help your child to prepare for the world of work and to secure paid or unpaid work experience, perhaps in the form of an internship. Contact Karen your Career Coach, on 0419 390 994, or by using the enquiries email, [email protected], to find out how.





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