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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity criticised for exploiting graduates via unpaid internships

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National Trust defends use of unpaid interns

A charity has been slammed for exploiting young graduates via unpaid internships.

Graduate Fog, a student recruitment website, said the National Trust is exploiting graduates in these roles and had a moral obligation to pay graduates salaries.

Some 33 unpaid internships are currently available at the National Trust including a Campaigns and policy internship in which the successful candidate will “help develop strategic advocacy opportunities” three days a week for six months unpaid.

However the National Trust said the posts are not exploitative and are open to “a wide range of people,” despite many of the positions lasting up to six months at a time.

Graduate Fog founder Tanya de Grunwald said: “The National Trust appears to be using a loophole in the law to get unlimited free support, usually from recent graduates.

Charities are way behind the curve on this and they need to wake up

“Anyone who can’t afford to work for months without pay won’t be able to start a career in charities. We’ve got to the position where working for a charity has become a luxury and charities exclusive clubs.

“Charities are way behind the curve on this and they need to wake up. The chief executive gets well paid and they often have fancy head offices but don’t seem to have enough money to pay junior staff for real work. It’s unfair and exploitative.”

Nick Foley, a spokesman for the National Trust, defended its internships, saying: “We believe that voluntary internships provide a great opportunity to involve a wide range of people in our work at the same time as gaining work experience of direct benefit for their future careers.

"We ensure opportunities are as flexible as they can be to allow time for paid work, job seeking, alternative training and on-going studies.”

Last year the National Council for Voluntary Organisations published a report warning that unpaid internships should not be used to displace paid staff.



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