Presentation on theme: "Internship in the UK: Why it is contested & also a misunderstood process of skill formation – emerging issues from the Creative & Finance Sectors David."— Presentation transcript:
Internship in the UK: Why it is contested & also a misunderstood process of skill formation – emerging issues from the Creative & Finance Sectors David Guile and Ann Lahiff ESRC-funded Research Centre – Learning and Life-chances in Knowledge Economies & Societies – Institute of Education, University of London Research funded by: The Commercial Education Trust, the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Argument Internship is demonised as un-paid/unsupervised work or work experience This demonisation conflates internship with un- paid/unsupervised work/work experience Yet, historically, internship has always been a process of skill formation In light of this, it is important to: differentiate between internship and un-paid/unsupervised work or work experience identify models of internship that facilitate skill formation identify their implication for the UK’s ‘skills” agenda
Origins of internship The English word intern derived from the French word interne (see below) which was derived from the Late Latin word internus (inward, internal; domestic) which was in turn derived from the Latin word inter (between) The earliest definition we could find was: 1879 : American English “one working under supervision as part of professional training”, especially “doctor in training in a hospital”, from the French interne “assistant doctor,” literally: “resident within a school”.
Internship – a good or bad idea? Bad Internships are: “illegal” (IPPR) “finishing school for the middle classes” (Williams, 2010) “form of exploitation” (de Grunwald, 2010) favour the most well-off members of society (Clegg) Good “internships are an important way of young people getting into the job market’ (Willetts, 2011) ‘The biggest UK firms are set to increase their graduate intake this year, with more positions than ever going to people who have already worked for the company as interns, research has shown” (Higher Fliers, 2011)
Problem with this framing of internship National discussion of internship as: ‘ exploitative’ employer behaviour Understandable, at one level, because: some very bad practice ‘out there ’ At another level, what is being lost sight of is: internship is a model of skill formation what & how people learn from internship varies in different sectors according to how they use internship As a consequence, we cannot see: how internship does at present & could do more so in future contribute to UK’s skill agenda
Why is this happening? Reporting of internship: clashes with people’s sense of ‘fair play’ But, there is another hitherto unidentified reason why people are vexed: legacy of the traditional ‘linear’ model of recruitment in people’s minds Explore this issue by researching: internship in Creative & Finance Industries
Internship in the Creative and Finance sectors – what’s happening and why? Creative and Finance sectors chosen for these reasons: sectors are characterized by very different organisational structures &, as a result, patterns of internship Finance sector (banks, investment & professional service companies) consists of: considerable number of multinational companies, a relatively small number of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and a high preponderance of permanent employment. Creative sector consists of: small number of multinational companies, high number of SMEs and a high preponderance of contract-based employment. Internship tends to be: formally organized in the Finance sector and informally generated in the Creative sector.
Researching internship: conceptual & methodological issues Key questions: how to – conceptualise a process that occurs within the work process gain access to corporations & Small & Medium Size Enterprises to interview key people Conceptualisation Use concepts from Socio-cultural theory (object of activity, relational activity, mediating artifacts, distributed cognition) to guide formulation of model of internship Access – gained via: intermediaries/brokers (people who work regularly with large corporations & SMEs), for example, University Careers Departments, University Students Unions, Sector Skills Councils etc., personal contacts. Interviews conducted with: interns/interns line or project and HR managers /ex-interns/sector-specific bodies (SSCs)/campaigning bodies (NUS/InternAware etc.) Outcome ideal typical models of purpose, process & outcome of internship Steering Group comments on emerging issues & plan dissemination (CBI, CIPD, NUS, Creative Skillset, Financial Skills Partnership, UKCES etc)
Traditional Model of Graduate Recruitment Graduate from University Employers advertise jobs Selection, interview and job offer Full time employment ‘learn the ropes’
Traditional Model of Graduate Recruitment 2 Problem: model no longer applies in some sectors (Finance) model rarely applied in other sectors (Creative) Result: national discussion of internship is skewed because contributors think internship is favouring some & denying other students access to employment But, internship in Creative & Finance sectors is facilitating access & skill formation in different ways
Internship as an integral element of company recruitment Apply for internship during second year & successful applications undertake internship in summer break Return to complete final year of degree in knowledge that has/does not have an offer of employment Undertake 6-week internship structured by team supported by training, mentor & line manager paid Undertake 6-week internship structured by team supported by training, mentor & line manager paid Full time employment company-specific knowledge, skill & judgement burgeoning company social capital
Internship as an integral element of company recruitment 2 Why? companies have moved their traditional model of post- graduation recruitment into the second year of a first degree/first year of MBA/MsC to ‘beat off the competition’ enables companies to enculturate successful students so they start ‘ahead of curve’ when they join students then act as campus ‘champions’ for companies to encourage other students to apply for internship
Internship as strategy to develop vocational practice & social capital Graduate from university Internship: self-generated (pitch) discover internship possibility via networks/social media (apply) sometimes companies (upper-end of SME scale) advertise Internship features: structured by project goals supported via project team & interns’ agecny unpaid/stipend/expe nses Internship outcome: knowledge, skill & judgement increased social capital Freelance/contra ct-based work, or business start-up
Internship as strategy to develop vocational practice & social capital 2 Why? SMEs secure contracts, sub-contract & receive sub-contracts for projects access to much of creative sector is about graduates ‘pitching’ for entry position in above context degrees rarely develop the vocational practice needed to contribute immediately to SMEs’ projects internships become positions to elaborate & extend knowledge & skill developed in HE but supplement it with practical judgement & social capital (network to gain contract)
Issues arising from first phase of research What are we now doing - asking more employers & interns about: how they learn as members of project teams where roles are transgressive? what types of knowledge, skill & judgement & social capital are they developing? why does this K,S,&J have to be developed in context of work rather than education? Where next for the research? identify more models of internship (Enternship) identify processes that support learning & develop a classification of all models Identify implications for: current policies/practices for Key/Employability skills in HE future direction of Careers Advice pre-HE & during HE inclusion of internship in national polices for skill formation Dissemination: late February/early March
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