The NUJ has welcomed today's Unleashing Aspirations report, which looks at the barriers facing those wanting to enter professions like journalism, as the first step in tackling bogus work experience.
It has backed a recommendation in the report to introduce national standards for internships as a positive first step in challenging exploitative unpaid work experience placements.
Proposals for a best practice code and Kitemark system to improve the quality of internships provided in professions such as journalism are also recommended in the report.
The NUJ has campaigned for the government to tackle the use of bogus work experience placements by media companies to get work done for free.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This report shows how the use of unpaid internships has undermined the diversity of our profession. It is good to see the government recognising the problem and we are now looking for swift action to ensure the financial barriers to entering journalism are lowered.
“The NUJ welcomes the report’s proposals to develop national standards as a first step in stamping out exploitative practices across the media. Genuine work experience is vital to anyone coming in to the profession, but all too often these placements are of very low quality. Too many employers see internships as a way of getting work done for free, without any thought towards their responsibilities to provide would-be journalists with a learning opportunity.
“We look forward to working with others in the sector to develop standards in this area and will continue to pressure the government to take action against those employers that use bogus work experience to exploit aspiring journalists and avoid minimum wage rules.”
More on Unleashing Aspirations below.