Exploitation or opportunity? Student perceptions of internships in enhancing employability skills
journal contributionposted on 30.04.2019, 14:22 authored by Henrietta O'Connor, Maxine Bodicoat
Internships are now widely promoted as a valuable means of enhancing graduate employability. However, little is known about student perceptions of internships. Drawing on data from a pre-1992 university, two types of graduate are identified: engagers and disengagers. The engagers valued internship opportunities while the disengagers perceived these roles as exploitative and worthless. Few were able to distinguish paid, structured internship opportunities from unpaid, exploitative roles. We conclude that higher education institutes need to be more proactive in extolling the value of paid internships to all students and not just those most likely to engage with their services.