Can someone please tell me why multi-billion dollar companies won’t give young people a little pocket money for doing their (often dirty) work in exchange for experience? Can someone please tell me why teachers, nurses and a bunch of other professions, who are faced with compulsory prac, can’t get a little help for their weeks of full-time hours?

Because someone like me can’t physically afford to do an unpaid internship or practical. Someone like me has to live out of home. Someone like me has to work in between uni hours in order to afford living expenses and my car, which will get me to your office. Ironically, I have to work so much that I’ve been cut from Government payments. If someone like me could live at home, I’d have to pay board to help my parents feed me.

I dropped out of my Masters of Education because I couldn’t afford to do my compulsory prac. I couldn’t save enough rent (living in Sydney is $$$$) in order to take ten weeks off. Ten weeks is HUGE. I know there are thousands of other young people all over Australia in the same situation as me.

By making internships unpaid, it makes it harder for people from lower socio-economic areas to have access to fair opportunities. For a lot of young people, the prospect of working for free is shoved under the bed alongside the other Things I Would Do If I Had Money (move over unforeseeable travel, a new watch and a backpack that fits my laptop).

The Liberal Government proposed a sweet internship deal during the recent election which was articulately discussed by the ABC. According to the program, young people:

“Working up to 25 hours per week… [will receive] an extra $200 per fortnight on top of their existing welfare payments. Businesses that take them on will receive a $1000 bonus and will then be eligible for a Youth Bonus wage subsidy of between $6,500 and $10,000. Up to 30, 000 interns a year could be involved.”

This is great news, it really is. I’m stoked for this to get going so that other people in my situation can get their foot in the door.

But what about teachers, nurses and others who require up to ten weeks of unpaid practicals a year. That’s not just one day a week either. That’s five days a week, 9-5 hours.

While this internship program is a huge step in the right direction, surely those who are paying 20-30K for their degree deserve some pocket money for their compulsory pracs too.

Yes, I am incredibly interested in your industry. Heck, I’d love to work for you one day too. However, it’s hard to respect a company that does not respect me and my situation.