Internships come to Football

Monday, June 6th, 2011 - Graduate Jobs, Internship, Student Jobs


Internships come to the Football

Last week was the “summer holiday” season for those of us at CV4.biz, as we prepare for the onslaught that is graduation season. We don’t actually do Student CV’s here, we just do Professional CV Writing and Executive CV’s. But like every other CV Writing Service in the UK, we know that the “student” is not the decision maker in this. It’s Mum and Dad, now desperate to get their off spring out of a house which they had just been able to reorganise into a homely empty nest.

The student jobs market of 2011 is not looking much better than the student jobs market of 2010, in fact you could even say that its a bit worse. The problem is not that there are many fewer jobs – there are more – its the amount of residual competition. Yes, students who graduated as far back as the mid-2000’s are still job hunting.

This leads to the thought of seeking an internship, something which has meandered across to the UK and to a lesser extent mainland Europe from the United States. The theory of the internship is as follows:

  • The employer needs to recruit a few new professional trainee hires
  • Rather than a normal interview and offer process, they deploy an internship, which you can think of as a real life “The Apprentice” interview
  • After a period of between a week and a whole year, if they prove themselves, the students get offered a fill time trainee position

The problem with the internship has been three fold over the last few years, being:

  • Competition: too many students applying for too few places
  • Normality: if someone is good enough, they are good enough. But many employers now see the internship as normal recruitment
  • Payment: while nominally at minimum, interns should be paid to cover their direct travel and subsistence costs, a growing trend is to not pay interns, but to also ask them to pay to be an intern

The result is that internships are starting to become only available to the offspring of the rich. Many of the original UK internships, dating back to the post-World War 2 period, are in political offices assisting your local MP. While many of these paid little, most now pay nothing and are seen as a “standard” political apprenticeship.

The UK Government are now so concerned at the general exploitation of interns, that the UK Employment minister and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have called on Parliament to create suitable legislation. The UK recruitment body REC has also outlined basic principles of internships, which suggests that at minimum interns are paid a set of basic costs covering transport and some subsistence costs, plus a maximum period of three months in an internship post before a decision is made.

Imagine against this background, my reading of the BBC Sport article on Stirling Albion’s internship “opportunity” which they ran last weekend. This is an annual seasonal problem for many lower league footballers, when clubs who don’t have the revenues from either post-Bosman sell-on’s or the ticket revenue in this post recessionary period, the result is that many are released post-season. At the end of the 2009/10 season, some 1,500 players across the UK were looking for a new club.

While Premier League players join a released player school, Lower league clubs take advantage of this by offering players a chance to prove themselves. The terms of Stirling Albion’s internship playing chance were that you had to register and pay £200 to join the selection weekend. Stirling Albion are a fan-owned club, so the exercise raised £3,000 for a club short of finances. Applicants came mainly from local non-league clubs, but some had travelled from as far away as London, the United States and one local-Scottish living Brazilian!

Did they hire anyone? Stirling Albion need players – they only have 8 registered players for the 2011/2 Scottish Second League season, so they will boost their squad to at least 16 players, but all may not come from this group of 30.

I wish all those contemplating an internship this summer as a route to employment, but my though would be to know what you are getting into on both a job opportunity and cost basis, and secondly make sure that its time scaled.

Good Luck!

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4 Responses to “Internships come to Football”

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