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Working for Free

Duration:
20 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 18 November 2009

Should interns have to work for free?

Interns are young hopefuls, often well-educated, who get a foot in the corporate door. They enjoy the rich experience of being inside a company and they get its magic name on their resume, which can lead to a successful career. Some of them do get paid while undergoing valuable training.

But not all. Talk is growing of 'intern abuse'. There are rumours that some employers have replaced redundant workers with free interns. And it's claimed that some people get stuck in an eternal round of internships.

German film director Jonas Grosch has directed a film about a fictional withdrawal of labour by disgruntled interns, called: "Resist - the rebellion of the interns". He explains how people may work long hours without real training and without any financial reward.

We hear about the benefits of internship from Andrew Schwartz, an American entrepreneur who runs a business consultancy and employs students as interns. He debates the issue with Bettina Koenig, Director of "Fairwork", a German organisation that campaigns for interns' rights.

And our regular technology commentator Jeremy Wagstaff muses about the computer hackers who claim to be acting in the consumer's interest.

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