Bristol

Work experience fee 'unfair' says Bristol students' leader

A Somerset company which helps organise work experience has been criticised because applicants have to pay.

Web-based agency Etsio puts people who want experience or training in touch with small businesses, who usually charge a daily fee.

Gus Baker, president of the University of Bristol Students' Union, said it was "unfair" to poorer graduates.

Etsio director Kit Sadgrove said he provided opportunities with businesses that typically do not provide training.

'Administration fee'

Mr Baker added: "It locks out huge swathes of the country who can't afford to work for free and certainly can't afford to pay for the opportunity to do so.

"The companies asking interns to work for free are cruelly exploiting young unemployed people's demand for work experience."

But Mr Sadgrove said he provided an opportunity for people who needed experience on their CVs from companies who would not normally be able to offer it.

Mr Sadgrove's company takes a small administration fee from the applicant, who can only undertake a placement for a maximum of 20 days.

He is involved in several companies and is offering a paid internship at one of them. Experience at his copywriting business costs £130 a day.

"We are cutting edge for copywriting and internet marketing which you can't really get anywhere else," he said.

"And I don't really think £130 is really frankly enough for someone to get the kind of experience they can get here to be honest."

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