Friday, 20 May 2011
Political Internships in Scotland
In my day what is called an intern now was called a trainee, but we insist upon importing Amerianisms so intern is today's buzz word.
Edinburgh university have been found out charging interns £5,000 for the pleasure of ensuring a 15 week placement with MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. The left-wing is in uproar because they feel the interns should be paid the national minimum wage. Oh dear, they have no idea of the value of good work placements do they. When I was young I chose to do 'training', during my four week holidays, with the best the UK hotel industry had to offer. The experience was invaluable and I thought nothing of payment; indeed it was an honour to be working among such knowledge.
But Edinburgh university are being a little naughty because they're charging their students £5,560 for the Holyrood internship and without the knowledge, it seems, of the MSPs who take these young people under their wings.
Surely, if these interns are current registered students any workplacement should be included in their annual tuition fee. Not so say Edinburgh university, the fee covers 'tuition, teaching, supervision, administration of the programme itself, as well as the central services which are vital to any educational experience'.
So it's only interns who benefit from the above and not all students.
As I know from experience having trainees shadow your every move can be very irritating/time-consuming/ enjoyable/invasive but if the trainee benefits from the experience (which they usually did) it was very worthwhile.
As the Herald suggests, the Scottish Parliament should reconsider this scheme now they're aware Edinburgh university is profiting so nicely from it. I'd be much happier if a scheme could be funded by Scottish taxpayers; one in which interns could be chosen by talent and not by cheque book. Certainly the current arrangement should be stopped as the only beneficiaries are Edinburgh university and the few who can afford the adventure.