March 9, 2012 • Podcasts
Several articles released by North American newspapers and internet publications over the past year have voiced a backlash to the standardization of unpaid internships as replacements for entry level jobs.
In the current issue of Shameless, which centers around the theme of “labour,” Carley Centen of anti-unpaid-internship site internsheep.wordpress.com looks at how this transition has come about. Check out her article to learn about provincial employment standards which define what legal and illegal unpaid work means.
In this podcast you’ll hear from eight people on their experiences with unpaid internships in industries across the board - what was good, what wasn’t, and how necessary they feel it is to take on unpaid work in order to gain footing in their chosen fields.
Take a listen here:
For a transcription of 'Unpaid Labour' read on:
Sarah Feldbloom: Hello! I'm Shameless Magazine's Web Producer, Sarah Feldbloom. Welcome to our podcast! Throughout the past year, it seems like everyone’s been talking about the normalization of unpaid internships, and what this means for young workers. The Globe and Mail, Macleans and most recently Reuteurs released features which re-hash the inequities of our current labour market, and talk about why more and more entry level jobs are being replaced by free work opportunities being called "internships."
In our current issue of our print magazine which centers around the theme of "labour" Carley Centen of anti-unpaid-internship site internsheep.wordpress.com lends her voice to this discussion from a Shameless perspective. Check out her piece to find information about rights around unpaid work, and to read about youth who are speaking out against it.
In this podcast you’ll hear from eight people in professions across the board about their experiences working unpaid internships - from dietetics, to fundraising, social work, communications, pharmacy, publishing, child and youth care, and journalism. They’ll tell us what was positive, what was negative and whether they think starting out with unpaid work is necessary in order to succeed in their fields.
[Sound up on intern profiles]
Adele: My name is Adele Gagnon. I am now a registered dietician, and I live in Sudbury, Ontario and I’m originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland. I did an unpaid internship that was ten months long and it was a series of rotations in all the different areas where you could likely get a job once you became a registered dietician so I worked in several different types clinical settings inside the hospital and then I also worked in a community aspect and a food services aspect. During our clinical internship we would go in and pretty much shadow the dietician that was working for the first—towards the beginning of the rotation but once we were at the end rotation we would take-up pretty much all of the duties of the dietician. So that would be to go see patients we saw in the hospital. It was probably one of the most helpful aspects of my degree just because I guess my job is so practical and that just gave me hands on, practical experience.
In my situation we couldn’t qualify for student loans because we didn’t qualify as students anymore, but we also didn’t get paid and didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance so it was really frustrating. And I, with a lot of help from my parents, didn’t end up having to get student loans while I was doing university but then I had to get a line of credit just for that one year that I was not making any money and working full-time and unable to really hold another job. That was other thing; we also had to—we were working full-time, so it would have been really difficult to have a job on the side because were expected to do projects and just other things in addition to our 9-to-5 work.