Unpaid internships have brought forth a plethora of heated debates over the past few years- cries of 'it's unfair' 'it's slave labour' have been at the forefront of discussion both within the media and within personal discussion...
The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Unpaid internships are just a prelude to a lifetime of low pay, normalising the idea that money earned is not enough to live off... the hourglass economy is a visual metaphor that describes the disappearance of middle income jobs, but at its heart there is a fallacy. We are not a country divided by earnings, so much as by assets - and this is especially true for the young.
Excitement really has started to kick on apprenticeships lately and it's starting to look encouraging - we might even get it onto the election agenda as a policy!
I think I will always divide my life into two parts, before London360, and after London360. Before seeing the advert for volunteer positions at London360, I was like many young graduates, unemployed and down on my luck.
Much has been written about a skills gap in my industry. Nuclear has an ageing workforce and we desperately need to get more young people to see it as a place where they can grow a career if Britain is to remain at the forefront of the industry worldwide.
UK Music is launching an Internship Code of Practice because we are committed to helping skilled and dedicated young people find a job in a music business. We also want to ensure a fairer workplace for budding music industry professionals. Offering paid internships is one way to ensure those entering the industry have an equal chance of developing their skills irrespective of their circumstance.
While unpaid internships certainly present a big problem for socially mobile students, it would be wrong to dismiss the benefits that internships can provide; internships are a mutually beneficial exercise, especially when the employer makes them meaningful, and the intern learns and develops their skills (not in tea-making for varying tastes, of course).
Hard work should be rewarded with fair pay. While a debate may be rumbling on between government and UK businesses about what constitutes fair pay when it comes to setting the bar for the minimum wage, there is still much that we can do as individual companies to encourage and nurture young talent...
When I think back to my summer, I see colours. Blue skies, turquoise seas, lush green, paired with saffron from the glowing sun in Europe and a smudge of brown from Glastonbury mud. I felt like I was beginning to get my own palette of the world and painting a picture of what it had to offer.
Did anyone spot the commitment in both the main parties' conference speeches to create a new workforce of thousands of young people - millions even - paid just £2.73 an hour? Actually the initiative wasn't just spotted but welcomed, alongside promises on zero hours contracts and the National Minimum Wage.