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Students are funding their internships with credit cards, loans and overdrafts


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Private-schooled students currently enrolled in British universities are twice more likely to undertake internships than state-schooled students.

Research conducted by UNiDAYS, in which they polled 2,000 students shows that almost a quarter (23%) of private schooled students have internships lined up this summer, compared to less than one in ten (9%) of students who attended a state school.

Source: Unidays - Created with Datawrapper

This internship gap is equally large when it comes to students from families of variable incomes. Only 9% of students from families earning between £15,000-30,000 per year will undertake an internship this summer compared to 18% of students whose parents earn between £80,000-100,000. 

The data shows, while students agree that internships are an important bolster for experience, many of them simply cannot afford them.

Fewer than half (49%) of the students polled by UNiDAYS with a state school background can afford the expense of relocating and supporting themselves for 6 weeks, compared to the 62% of privately educated students.

Mai Fenton, EMEA Marketing Director of UNiDAYS commented on the recent research:

“Internships are becoming increasingly essential in getting the best graduate jobs, and 57% of students rightly believe they can help you get ahead in your career.

"However, students from private schools are far more likely to get these opportunities, putting students from state schools at a significant disadvantage.”

The research also shows a geographical inequality in summer internships, with more than a third (36%) of students saying that there aren’t enough internship opportunities outside of the capital, particularly ones that include any sort of remuneration.

According to those doing summer placements, only one in eight (13%) of internships are paid opportunities, with the average student having only £395 available to invest in summer work experiences. An even more worrying statistic is the 18% shown to be funding summer internships with credit cards, loans or overdrafts.

Despite the costs, 65% of students believe that internships are an invaluable experience for their entry into the working world, with 49% that think they can lead directly to a graduate position.  

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