officer blog


georgina burchell

welfare, community & diversity

Internships: what are your rights?

As the end of the academic year approaches many of you will be looking to the future in terms of employment, which may involve undertaking a summer or graduate internship. Being an 'Intern' is a relatively new concept. It can also be a legal grey-area in terms of your employment status. What you are expected to do and how you are treated as an intern can really vary from company to company.  

Relevant work experience has become something of a necessity in the graduate jobs market, particularly if you are interested in a competitive career path. Many internships are paid, however unpaid internships still exist, and it's important to know your rights if you're considering undertaking one.  

The government have set out what you should expect in terms of employment rights as an intern with regards to things like the minimum wage.

Whether you should be paid or not comes down to your employment status and much of this depends on the nature of your relationship with your employer. Our advice service have provided a guide that sets out your legal rights, which you can see here.

If you need financial help to undertake a work experience placement or internship, the University hold an employability development fund that can help you to meet costs such as travel or accommodation. 

If you are offered an internship, ask for it to be confirmed in writing, and clarify whether it is a paid position and what experience you will gain. If it’s unpaid, the most practical advice we can give is to weigh up how valuable the experience offered will be to you before deciding whether or not to take it. 

To discuss your specific case come and talk to one of our advice workers. You can get in contact with the advice centre by calling 01603 593463 or requesting an appointment through the website.



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