We recently came across a new internship matching service called MyInternSwap; which on the face of it seems pretty inoffensive. It’s a system which makes it a good deal easier for parents to find work experience placements for their children.
Here’s how it works
- Alice (a Marketing Manager) needs a finance related work placement for her son Thomas
- Edward (a City Banker) needs a marketing related work placement for his daughter Eugenia
- Both Edward and Alice join MyInternSwap, stating that they are able to offer internship placements within their own companies, in exchange for a placement for their son / daughter
- The two parents are matched by the service, everyone has a chat, and the placements are agreed.
- Thomas and Eugenia complete their placements and have long, successful career.
Simple, clean, and relatively painless – what a spot of luck for little Thomas and Eugenia…
In 2015 the very idea of this makes us feel nauseated.
The jobs market is more competitive than it has ever been before; on a daily basis we are treated to reports of “10,000 applications for single fast food vacancy” and “Recent graduates forced into unpaid government work placements”. At the same time, one sentiment is becoming most prevalent amongst employers – experience is what counts!
Long gone are the days when simply working hard at school and university was enough to ensure you got a decent position after graduation. No no, nowadays you need a multi-stringed bow, comprised to a large degree of demonstrable industry experience.
Anyone who has ever had the displeasure of seeking such a position, will know well of what I speak; jobs can be incredibly difficult to secure. Weeks, if not months, can be spent sending out emails, dropping off CVs, and quite literally begging employers to let you work for free.
Yet despite the hardship, for those willing to put the graft in, the rewards are many.
Industry experience, network connections, and relevant references can place you well above your peers, giving you a significant head start when it comes to your future career.
In a nutshell internship placements are incredibly important.
Now consider this, should any young person be given a better chance of securing such a position, based solely on the virtue of who their parents are? We certainly don’t think so! If there is anything in life where a level playing field is needed, it’s in education and opportunity.
MyInternSwap flies in the face of the values we are all brought up to believe and promote; fairness, equality, and opportunity for all, regardless of the position of their birth. Systems such as this are what lock the less privileged out of desirable positions, reserving them for middle and upper-middle class young people. Add to this, the economic hurdles which less privileged youngsters already face when completing unpaid internships, and you begin to appreciate the wide opportunities gap which exists between the affluent, and those from a lower socio-economic background.
As though it even needs to be stated – Internships should be awarded on merit, not as a mutually beneficial deal between 2 parents.
MyInternSwap was recently lampooned by Buzzfeed and The Guardian, after it was revealed that BBC staff were using it to offer media internships at the world’s largest broadcaster, to leverage other positions for their own children.
**The thousands of other young people seeking work experience at ‘the Beeb’, must apply online and undergo a lengthy application programme, with very little chance of ever being selected.
For more information, check out the MyInternSwap ‘about page’ in which they try to (very unsuccessfully) debunk some of the criticism that has been levelled against them, by describing themselves as ‘the antidote to the old boy network’ and claiming ‘We don’t see this as nepotism, but rather increased parental engagement and responsibility’.
We see it as unfair.