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Young people should not have to pay for privilege to work: Greens

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Charging students and graduates to access unpaid internships will only entrench privilege in the workplace making it harder for people from diverse backgrounds to find full-time work, according to the Australian Greens.

Youth & Disability spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John spoke today in response to revelations that third-party oraganisations were charging students and graduates up to $1000 to take part in 8-week unpaid internships with a one in 64 chance at being offered a job.

"Programs that charge young people to take part in unpaid internships are discriminatory and further contributing to workforce casualization," Senator Steele-John said.

“Education is a human right! Work experience is one thing, but paying for the privilege is a whole different ball game.

“These kinds of arrangements not only allow companies to exploit students for cheap or free labour, but also put further education out of reach for many more young Australians who are struggling to make ends meets as it is.

“It is incumbent upon our educational institutions and government to support students and ensure there is equitable access to further education.”

Senator Steele-John said that these kinds of initiatives also impacted upon the ability of disabled people to enter the workforce.

“We should be making pathways to meaningful work in our society more accessible and more inclusive for all, yet it seems like we are heading the other way.

“I want to see the government take positive steps towards improving diversity and inclusivity in education and employment pathways across Australia, not standing idly by whilst discriminatory practices such as these continue to flourish.

“Far too often unpaid internships are sold as a necessary stepping-stone to achieving full-time, meaningful employment. The reality is most people who take part in these kinds of programs are never going to get a job!”

Media Contact:

Tim Oliver - 0448 316 387

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