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Internships for sale at Holyrood


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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg slammed internships, saying they benefit those from wealthy backgrounds. Critics say the middle-classes use their connections to fix placements for their children, and young people from poorer families cannot afford to work for nothing.

Clegg said: “For too long, internships have been the almost exclusive preserve of the sharp-elbowed … Unfair, informal internships can rig the market in favour of those who already have opportunities.”

The Liberal Democrat leader’s solution is to advertise work opportunities competitively, while also offering “proper remuneration” to interns.

A commission chaired by former Labour Cabinet minister Alan Milburn also concluded: “Securing an internship all too often depends on who you know.”

The Sunday Herald can now reveal that one of the most elitist intern schemes exists not in London, but in the Scottish Parliament.

Equal Opportunities?

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It's not equal opportunities at all, borderlass. I am a big fan of work placements as part of any course as often they can lead to employment and they can provide opportunities for students or new graduates to gain work experience. However, I cannot understand the concept of internship.

Is it working for nothing or is it something else entirely?

I've just been discussing with a young woman today opportunities for her to gain experience as she has just completed her degree. She may choose to volunteer somewhere to gain experience if she can't find a paid job - but obviously paid work is much more attractive and in most cases fairer.

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It's not equal opportunities at all, borderlass. I am a big fan of work placements as part of any course as often they can lead to employment and they can provide opportunities for students or new graduates to gain work experience. However, I cannot understand the concept of internship.

Is it working for nothing or is it something else entirely?

I've just been discussing with a young woman today opportunities for her to gain experience as she has just completed her degree. She may choose to volunteer somewhere to gain experience if she can't find a paid job - but obviously paid work is much more attractive and in most cases fairer.

It appears to be working for nothing Pat, the advantage being to those taking part that it will be a very useful addition to their CV when they apply for a job. The furore in Westminster is that it has always depended upon "who you know" which means it's only the children of wealthy parents with a lot of clout who get them. From what the Herald has discovered, it's just as elitist at Holyrood due to the money required to buy a place.

Sam, I wasn't suggesting that the MSP's are getting any money from it - it does appear to be solely Edinburgh University that is benefiting financially. I do think however that it's an absolute disgrace that ANY institution or business can use access to the Scottish Parliament (which is funded totally by public money) to give an advantage to those of their young people who already have the advantage of having wealthy parents.

From the article it appears that these internships are mainly going to overseas students, as they can afford to pay the high fee. I think that is an absolute disgrace that people from overseas can use our Parliament to their advantage, simply because they have wealthy families. Whatever happened to the old Scottish tradition of the "lad o' pairts" who was able to become a high achiever based solely on ability?

ETA - just found this article

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It appears to be working for nothing Pat, the advantage being to those taking part that it will be a very useful addition to their CV when they apply for a job. The furore in Westminster is that it has always depended upon "who you know" which means it's only the children of wealthy parents with a lot of clout who get them. From what the Herald has discovered, it's just as elitist at Holyrood due to the money required to buy a place.

Sam, I wasn't suggesting that the MSP's are getting any money from it - it does appear to be solely Edinburgh University that is benefiting financially. I do think however that it's an absolute disgrace that ANY institution or business can use access to the Scottish Parliament (which is funded totally by public money) to give an advantage to those of their young people who already have the advantage of having wealthy parents.

From the article it appears that these internships are mainly going to overseas students, as they can afford to pay the high fee. I think that is an absolute disgrace that people from overseas can use our Parliament to their advantage, simply because they have wealthy families. Whatever happened to the old Scottish tradition of the "lad o' pairts" who was able to become a high achiever based solely on ability?

ETA - just found this article

I don't like this idea of internship at all and Holyrood should distance themselves from it.

It rather smacks of Oliver Twist and Victorian indenture.

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It appears to be working for nothing Pat, the advantage being to those taking part that it will be a very useful addition to their CV when they apply for a job. The furore in Westminster is that it has always depended upon "who you know" which means it's only the children of wealthy parents with a lot of clout who get them. From what the Herald has discovered, it's just as elitist at Holyrood due to the money required to buy a place.

Has always existed, and most likely always will in some forms. Sociologists call this Social Capital (i.e. who and what you know thanks to parents/uncles/employers etc) and also Cultural Capital i.e. if you're exposed to 'the arts' i.e. opera, ballet, fine art etc etc you'll be better rounded and a better student if exposed to these things from a young age. Both of these can influence each other, but if you don't know those in the know then you have no capital and cannot influence your children's educational chances like some other parents might be able to.

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Has always existed, and most likely always will in some forms. Sociologists call this Social Capital (i.e. who and what you know thanks to parents/uncles/employers etc) and also Cultural Capital i.e. if you're exposed to 'the arts' i.e. opera, ballet, fine art etc etc you'll be better rounded and a better student if exposed to these things from a young age. Both of these can influence each other, but if you don't know those in the know then you have no capital and cannot influence your children's educational chances like some other parents might be able to.

And that's the entire nub of the matter Lynnski imo - if the Scottish Parliament is going to allow the use of internships, then students should be allocated places purely and simply upon merit.

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And that's the entire nub of the matter Lynnski imo - if the Scottish Parliament is going to allow the use of internships, then students should be allocated places purely and simply upon merit.

Exactly! I answered a question on this just last week in my sociology exam, I wish this story had been out then, I could have used it as a very up to date example! :lol:

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And that's the entire nub of the matter Lynnski imo - if the Scottish Parliament is going to allow the use of internships, then students should be allocated places purely and simply upon merit.

Therre is no doubt you need to be bright and/or pretty well connected to get a internship. Some require brains and connections, McKinsey & Co, for example and judging by the number of media darling offspring I hear about trying to get placements as runners, set designer assistants and fashion buyers, I'd say some are purely down to connections. laugh.gif

A good internship can kick start a great career and there will be plenty of posh dosh and sharp elbows fighting their way to the front of the queue on this one.

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So this is what David Cameron meant by the big society, a kind of acceptable slavery - probably picked that idea up from when he was Jennings Senior's fag at Eton.

Well, he thinks we're all in it together but looks like some have a foot in the door to a greater extent than others.

But then, we always knew that. I wonder how many cabinet members are Oxbridge boys?

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Well, he thinks we're all in it together but looks like some have a foot in the door to a greater extent than others.

But then, we always knew that. I wonder how many cabinet members are Oxbridge boys?

There lies the problem, Pat. I think borderlass' makes sense on this thread. My dander is up.

Tories have never grasped the meaning of equality. The Cabinet is full of swanks and privileged phonies who tell us that they will protect the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable in our society are always going to be at the bottom of the heap until things change. What makes it a bigger problem is that people who should know better and proclaim themselves to be socialists also consider themselves to be above some of the most deprived members of our society.

We're a class ridden society and have to listen to the hypocritical tories yabbering on the box and then also have to put up with the right wing, right on phonies. They have usually been privileged, in the sense that they are not lower working class, and they usually consider themselves to be 'socialists'. I listen into their conversations. They like to 'discuss' politics and 'debate' issues. You see them in Westend hostelries every day of the week. You'll recognise them, they know everything, talk posh and they're 'well educated'. Ain't that a laugh. They do ma heid in.

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There lies the problem, Pat. I think borderlass' makes sense on this thread. My dander is up.

Tories have never grasped the meaning of equality. The Cabinet is full of swanks and privileged phonies who tell us that they will protect the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable in our society are always going to be at the bottom of the heap until things change. What makes it a bigger problem is that people who should know better and proclaim themselves to be socialists also consider themselves to be above some of the most deprived members of our society.

We're a class ridden society and have to listen to the hypocritical tories yabbering on the box and then also have to put up with the right wing, right on phonies. They have usually been privileged, in the sense that they are not lower working class, and they usually consider themselves to be 'socialists'. I listen into their conversations. They like to 'discuss' politics and 'debate' issues. You see them in Westend hostelries every day of the week. You'll recognise them, they know everything, talk posh and they're 'well educated'. Ain't that a laugh. They do ma heid in.

Britain is certainly a class ridden society, Canny Lass. It's a sad fact that your accent and who your daddy is can determine your status every bit as much as your intelligence and achievements - in some cases more so.

The thing is, how can change be brought about? We live in a rich country where income is distributed less evenly than in almost every rich country in the world. What we need is a redistribution of both wealth and power. I think that calls for a different tax system and more generous and effective benefit policies.

Neither of which is on the cards and as you point out so many supposed socialiasts have bought into the popular pastime of berating those on benefits. There is a lot of support for the push to punish so-called malingerers - this view isn't restricted to the West End. There's an awful lot of people who take comfort in being in a position less unequal than others.

I'm afraid that the prestigious and paid for internships simply strengthen existing inequalities.

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