Internships are a requirement for many students at UOW as part of their degrees, but unpaid internships are often time intensive, competitive to get into and students could feel as though they are being exploited.

The positions can be incredibly difficult to obtain, with some students even paying for them. But what do students get out of them? Is experience payment enough for the work interns do?

Angel Recruitment and Consultancy Group’s founder Beti Kresteski doesn’t believe unpaid internships are the best option for businesses and certainly not for students.

“I believe a graduate has worked extremely hard to fulfill the requirements of them, making the sacrifice to commit to their study,” she said.

“It is value that a graduate brings and value has a price tag. Nobody should be unpaid, especially to gain experience.”

So what are the alternatives?

For recent UOW graduate Chelsea Deeley, volunteering at Alternative Media Group and East Side radio was a fantastic opportunity to gain more knowledge for her career.

“Don’t be afraid to do volunteer work and try and fit it in with your daily life because it is really beneficial”

Ms Kresteski thinks that paying interns for their work does more than help the student. It brings new ideas and learning into the business, and facilitates innovation and continuous improvement.

“What would it cost, 2000-3000? That’s not a lot to give someone a chance to have on their resume worked, did, achieved and then my reference.”

Convincing businesses to add money to internships may be more of a challenge, but perhaps one of the issues is changing the perceptions of interns.

Interns bring their knowledge and experience to the workplace, does that not have a value? We put it to more UOW students to find out what they thought about unpaid internships.

Words & Video: Tess Brunton