With the pandemic and the academic schedule coming to a standstill, students had a lot of time to explore internships. I too, being one them, was fortunate enough to get a chance to intern with a few companies. Apart from giving great learning and working experience, I could not help but notice a lot of ways in which employers take undue advantage of students. In ways, more than one internship proves to be problematic for a lot of students.
While some internships pay a decent amount of money to students, others are completely unpaid. In the name of providing experience and resume enhancement, employers often exploit students. Where employers are eager to get cheap labour and students looking for new ways to gain experience, the cycle of exploitation becomes endless. On one hand, employers refuse to hire anybody who lacks experience and on the other, they refuse to pay students because they are “providing experience”. Students often find themselves entangled in the web, spun by the corporate structure itself, where they help an organisation gain all kinds of profit, yet find themselves at loss.
Unpaid internships are not only exploitative but also extremely classist. Students who come from a lower-income background, know well that unpaid internships are a privilege. While some internships are necessary to get a permanent job, some of the students cannot even avail that. Students who migrate to cities like Delhi cannot afford to work for somebody without monetary remuneration. Therefore, it is safe to say that unpaid internships are accessible to only those students who are privileged enough to not care about money.
Students pay a countless amount of money, time and energy to acquire a degree or a skill set. These skills are required to get an internship, in the first place. However, companies thrive using these skills for free, leaving an intern with a piece of certificate.
In all honesty, though all internships are not that bad, some internships do pay a decent amount of money to interns. The work environment is also uplifting. However, those internships are not perfect either.
A lot of paid internships are full-time. This proves to be absolutely perfect as an experience for a permanent job. But they are not completely helpful for college students. Many students seek paid internships while they are studying. With 5-6 hours of regular classes and additional travel, it becomes impossible for them to work full-time. Part-time internships are, therefore, the only solution they are left with. But again, how many part-time internships are even paid?
The problem is more than the violation of the basic right of getting a pay. For some students, it is a necessity, owing to ever-rising rent, travel and personal expenses. It seems like it is almost impossible for students to get an internship which not only pays decently but also respects their academic schedule.
Also read: Internships vs College Scocieties
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