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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Would you work for free? Listen to 6 Minute English

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Sam: Hello. This is 6 Minute English. I'm Sam.

Rob: And I'm Rob.

Sam: Before you got your first job Rob, did you

do any work experience?

Rob: I think I may have done a day or two

at some companies, just shadowing,

watching how they did thingsbut

nothing much more than that.

Sam: Some companies offer students or

recent graduates what they call

'internships'. These are extended

periods of work experience where

someone can be working full-time without

an actual contract and in many cases

without even being paid.

Rob: Ahyes. This is a bit of a problem,

isnt it? Some companies are being

accused of using students and graduates

as cheap or free labour.

Sam: Yes, although the counter argument

is that internships are valuable experience

for people who need it before

they can get arealjob. Well, well look at

this topic a little more after this weeks

quiz question. On the topic of business

and companies, which is the oldest stock

exchange in the world? Is it:

A: Bombay, B: New York, or C: Amsterdam

What do you think, Rob?

Rob: Tricky, because I was expecting

London on that list. Im going to take a

guess then at Amsterdam.

Sam: OK. Well, I will reveal the answer

later in the programme. James Turner is

the chief executive of an education

charity. Recently he took

part in a discussion on the BBC radio

programme You and Yours, on the topic

of internships. What does he think is a big

issue with unpaid internships?

James Turner: In many careers were now

seeing that its

almost as an expectation that a young

person does an internship before they

stand a chance of getting

that first full-time job in that profession.

And the issue with that from a sort of social

mobility point of view is that a substantial

proportion of those internships are

unpaid and that effectively rules out those

who cant afford to work for free.

Sam: So what is the problem with unpaid

internships, Rob?

Rob: Well, if you cant afford to work for

free, it makes it very difficult to do an

internshipparticularly in expensive

cities like London. This excludes, or 'rules

out' a lot of people from the benefits of an

internship.

Sam: This is bad for social mobility, which

is the ability of people to move to higher,

better paid levels in society. So the poorer

you are the more difficult it can be to get a

good job, even if you have the ability.

Rob: Could you afford to work for free

here in London, Sam?

Sam: No, I can barely afford to live in

London as it is, so the idea of doing an

unpaid internship would not appeal to me

at all.

Turner goes on to talk about other

issues that are also problematic in

internship programmes.

James Turner: Too often internships are

open to those

with established connections in the

professions and again that rules out

those young people who dont have the

well-connected families or friends who

can open those doors for them.

Sam: So what are these other issues?

Rob: In many cases he says that

internship opportunities are only available

to those with established connections to

the company or industry. This means they

have some pre-existing link with

the company, for example, through family

or friendsfamilies.

Sam: Yes, its a lot easier if your family is

well-connected, if it has a lot of contacts

and links to a particular company or important

people in that company.

Rob: These links make it easier to open

doors to the opportunity. 'To open doors' is

an expression that means 'to get access to'.

Sam: So it seems that to be able to do an

unpaid internships you need to have a fair

bit of money and to get an internship in

the first place you may need to have a

previous link to the company through a

family connection, for example.

Rob: So the system would seem to be

difficult for poorer families and make it

more difficult for students without those

resources or connections to get on the

job ladder. Heres James Turner again.

James Turner: Too often internships

are open to those

with established connections in the

professions and again that rules out

those young people who dont have the

well-connected families or friends who

can open those doors for them.

Sam: Right, time now to answer this

weeks question. Which is the oldest stock

exchange in the world? Is it:

A: Bombay, B: New York, or C: Amsterdam?

Rob, what did you say?

Rob: I went for Amsterdam.

Sam: Well done, thats correct.

Congratulations to everyone who go that

right and extra bonus points if you know

the date. Rob?

Rob: Havent a clue! 1750?

Sam: Actually its a lot earlier, 1602.

Rob: Wow, thats much earlier than I thought.

Sam: Right, lets have a look again at

todays vocabulary. Weve been talking

about 'internships' which are periods of

work at companies as a way for students

or new graduates to get experience in a

particular field.

Rob: If they are unpaid it can make 'social

mobility' very difficult. This is the

movement from a lower social level to a

higher one and its difficult as poorer

candidates cant afford to work for free.

Sam: Yes, the cost 'rules them out', it

excludes them from the opportunity.

Rob: What helps is if you have 'established

connections' with a company. This refers

to previous or pre-existing links with a

company.

Sam: And also if your family is 'well-connected',

if it has good connections, for example if

your father plays golf with the CEO, it can

'open doors', or in other words, it can make

it easier to get into the company.

Rob: So Sam, are you well-connected?

Sam: No, only to my smartphone!

Rob: Same herebut we still made it to

BBC Learning English and you can find

more from us online, on social media and

on our app. But for now, thats all from

6 Minute English. See you again soon. Bye bye!

Sam: Bye everyone!

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