The topic of unpaid internships has been rather prolific in the news over recent months. In fact, Jon Snow even mentioned it at the Bob Friend Memorial Lecture last night, stating that the media’s use of unpaid interns is ‘alarming’.
The Daily Mail also published a couple of pieces on unpaid interns yesterday. One piece, titled ‘A degree in slavery: The highly-educated graduates forced to work for nothing for MPs, celebrities and even charities’, highlighted the problem of unpaid internships in Parliament. You can also check out my map, which shows every MP’s advertisement for an unpaid intern since January.
View MPs and constituencies adverting for unpaid interns in a larger map
The Mail also ran a small piece on Baroness Worthington (scroll past Angelina for the story), which questions if her intern ad was actually for a free babysitter.
The article said:
“For some reason, however, Baroness Worthington — Bryony to friends — states that the aide will ideally ‘like children’. Can it be that she’s looking for a free babysitter? Some who saw her ad on a House of Commons website thought so.
And lo and behold, within a week, the ad was gone — with colleagues suspecting Labour apparatchiks ordered her to take it down.
Says Bryony, 38: ‘It’s been implied I’m trying to get away without paying someone. But since my Lords role doesn’t have a salary, I can’t be expected to provide payment for an assistant. I only took down the post early because I’ve been inundated with applications and wanted to reply to each one personally.’”
So how personally did she reply? It would appear that it wasn’t very personal at all. One prospective applicant sent an email asking for more information about the role, but because no reply was received, no application was made and yet days later this landed in their inbox:
“Many thanks for sending your cv and covering letter for the role of volunteer parliamentary assistant to Baroness Worthington, as advertised on www.w4mp.org.
I received a large volume of applications all of which I have read with interest. I am sorry to inform you that on this occasion you did not make it on to the shortlist.
I hope you find a suitable role soon and wish you all the very best for the future.
Thanks again for your interest,
Best wishesâ€¨ Bryony Worthington
Firstly, if she had read them all, and with interest, why would this email have been sent to someone who never actually applied?
And secondly, “I only took down the post early because I’ve been inundated with applications and wanted to reply to each one personally” - it seems she didn’t quite do that either. Bit of a blunder, Bryony?