Posts Tagged ‘students’

Would you pay £200 a day to gain work experience?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
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A recent article on Recruiter detailed a company which coordinates arrangements for interns to pay employers a fee of up to £200 a day for work experience. Within the article, paying for an internship, which offers the possibility of future employment after, is illustrated as an attractive alternative to the years of debt graduates face after university.

In some ways I can see the comparison; many attend university as a way to develop the skills and knowledge they hope will benefit their career progression in the future. For those who do not attend, the financial costs may simply outweigh any perceived benefit. They might be willing to pay for work experience instead, which is another way of gaining such skills and knowledge, to support their standing in an ever competitive labour market.

However, I personally feel that there is no comparison between paying for work experience and paying for a university education. And should paying for work experience become widespread, it could cause many potential issues.

Students can take out loans to cover the cost of going to university; loans which carry a low-interest rate and a fair repayment scheme. As the article does not mention how interns pay for the work experience, I assume it is paid straight away. This is the biggest difference I see, and I feel this could contribute to inequality.

If companies were to charge £200 for a day of work experience, there would be many potential employees who would miss out. Those in the lower-income bracket would be cut off from obtaining work experience that could lead to a job.

I also struggle to see why a company would want to restrict their talent pool of applicants to only those who can afford to pay for a day’s work experience. The article highlights that with a financial transaction in place, individuals are motivated to make the most of their work experience.

It seems as though in the company’s mind, coughing up the cash indicates motivation. I tend to disagree. I could be a highly motivated individual with the ability to do a really great job however, if there was no way of funding my work experience, the company would lose out on a potentially highly valuable candidate out of their talent pool. This is without considering the  negative impact such an experience may have on my view (and those in a similar position) of the company. Or the potential long-term harm it could do to the company’s ability to hire in the future.

Overall I personally feel it is a step too far, especially in today’s current climate, to allow employers to make money out of job seekers’ desires to find work. What do you think?

Written by Loretta Snape, at PPS.

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Graduate Recruitment – Bright Futures, an alternative to career fairs?

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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As an employer, careers fairs have their benefits and weaknesses. They are a great and personable way to increase the awareness of your company on campus; however with some universities charging over £450 per stand per day and the added cost of sending your staff to man the stand, it can be a lot of resource to raise awareness at only one university.

Are there other ways of increasing awareness which cost less, use less of the company’s work force and are a little more inventive? Yet still maintain on campus face-to-face presence?

Whilst at University I was part of a society called Bright Futures (http://www.bright-futures.org.uk/). Bright Futures is a national student organisation which brings together the top students with the top employers, in 38 universities across the UK including Warwick, UCL and St Andrews.

From a student perspective

Whilst studying at the University of Birmingham I was part of their Bright Futures society, helping to market events within the business school. From a student perspective I found Bright Futures invaluable. It gave the society team and driven society members access to workshops which were either on campus for a few hours in the evening or online in ‘webinar’ format, run by top companies such as Deloitte and Unilever.

The workshops would cover a range of topics from ‘how to give a good interview’, ‘what to expect at an assessment centre’ all the way to ‘dragons den’ product innovation tasks. It was a chance for students to develop their skills whilst also having a chance to ask plenty of questions about the company giving the workshop. The events would usually include a presentation about the company, the opportunities they have and the type of candidates they were after too. If it wasn’t a company I’d previously been interested in working for, it usually was by the end of the workshop!

From an employer perspective

Bright Futures offers a unique way for companies recruiting graduates to advertise themselves on campus compared to careers fairs. The events Bright Futures run are usually a few hours on weekday evenings, meaning one or two of your staff could spend one evening on campus rather than a whole day. Like a career fair it will all be arranged for you, your staff just need to turn up at the allocated time with the material they want to cover with the students.

Through Bright Futures, companies have access to a focussed group of students, the reason most students join Bright Futures is because they want a bright future, and are going to do everything they can to get there. Companies have the student’s undivided attention for a few hours rather than a few minutes as they pass from stall to stall, as is common at most career fairs. Also as most events are advertised by the Society to members and non-members before the event, it means extra advertising for your company.

As the events are usually based around developing the student’s skills, it contributes towards your company’s corporate responsibility too, sharing your knowledge with the students which will not only help them with any applications they make to your company but any company.

Overall, I feel Bright Futures is a great way of exposing companies to driven students within top universities.

Written by Loretta Snape, an invaluable Industrial Placement student at PPS.

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