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Not everyone can work for free

21st March 2011

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After attending an ‘How to Get Into Magazines’ event at Marie-Claire this week, and deciding that my life calling is to work for a glossy magazine, I was upset to find the result of the talk was that the key to getting a job is a plethora of work experience placements under your belt.

Aside from the fact they are crazy competitive to get, with people of all ages across the country fighting for the opportunity to sort samples in fashion cupboards over the summer months, they also happen to be the only months of the year with a substantial opportunity to earn money to live from during University term time.

It seems that despite the equality spin put upon all internship opportunities, the people who are able to compete for places are those that do not need extra finance during term time, and those who can afford to work for free in the summer whilst somehow managing to live in central London.

Indeed, the work experience world itself seems to rely so heavily on the old cliché ‘It’s not what you know, rather who you know’, that it is no surprise that the underdog is unlikely to make a come-uppance, humble state school backgrounds providing surprisingly few contacts with editorial assistants of top magazines.

Whilst I’m sure the magazines themselves have no intention of separating the working class from those who will be funded over the summer and over their university time, it seems that there is no way to end the class division so evident across University students. With this, and the inevitable rise in tuition fees over the next few years, it seems that there are dark days ahead for students from more modest backgrounds – and a decreasing set of graduate opportunities for the working class.

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