Our Policy on Internships – Widening Participation

By Callum Morton

Following last week’s Liberal Youth Spring Conference in Leeds, proposer of the Internships and Work Experience motion that passed, Callum Morton, explains why it is important to Liberal Youth.

For the first time ever, Liberal Youth has a policy on internships & work experience. And it’s a robust one.

Not only does it call for those on internships or work experience to be paid £2.60 per hour, but it also calls for politicians to be the first to clear up their act.

We know as Liberal Democrats that our party will struggle the most out of the main three parties when it comes to finding the funds to pay any interns, but we should do so because we ARE liberals.

As I said in my speech at Liberal Youth Conference when I proposed this policy, it is just not right that access to internships and work experience is restricted to those who can afford to do so. It is just not right that politics is seen as a way of life that only the rich can reach. It is just not right that in a time of mass youth unemployment, we shouldn’t be looking to financially support those who volunteer their time and effort to gain skills for the future.

Those who kindly stood up in support of this motion at Liberal Youth Conference referred to their time doing an internship or work experience, stating that it should remain about giving people skills, knowledge and experience. Conference decided (narrowly) that paying those on internships or work experience national minimum wage would reduce the advantages of employers taking on interns, so much so that they wouldn’t advertise for an internship at all or would advertise for a job instead. So £2.60 was incorporated into the policy and it was supported overwhelmingly.

As expressed in our new policy we’ll be launching a campaign encouraging paid internships & work experience over unpaid ones. If you have any experiences of internships or work experience that you’d like to share, or even just to express your support, please email callum.morton@liberalyouth.org

Callum Morton is job-sharing the position of Campaigns Officer in Liberal Youth. He tweets regularly via @callum_morton and can be found on Facebook.


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