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Desperate students willing to pay for internships

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Graduates are willing to pay up to £8,000 to secure internships, according to recent findings by The Daily Telegraph.

It is thought that the number of students forking out for placements, which are also often unpaid, could be in the high hundreds.

NUS has labelled the approach as "obscene" and said it is likely students are "paying for their own exploitation".

There is also concern that middle-class students are using such tactics to give themselves an edge over their less fortunate counterparts in the competitive graduate job market.

It has also emerged that some companies are laying off current employees and offering their positions to interns instead. Alex Try, one of the founders of the popular blog Interns Anonymous, highlighted one case involving a commercial art gallery in London who cleared away the lower members of staff and handed over their responsibilities to graduates.

Talking to 'Employment 4 Students', Jonathan Black, the director of the careers service at Oxford University, admitted that he has been approached by firms in the City and media businesses to broker their services to students.

Black said: "I think companies charging for internships are exploitative of a vulnerable group of people, they are preying on students' uncertainty." He continued to stress that students must realise that it is in no way necessary to take the paying route as all careers services know that internships are available for free and you should be able to find yourself a place on one if you are willing to do a bit of work yourself."

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