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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 22, 2012 @ 9:31 am

    The 40-year-old intern: ‘working for free’ as a grown-up?

    Mary Minihan

    I got some interesting statistics from the Department of Social Protection on the age profile of people signed-up to JobBridge, the Government scheme which allows people to work as interns while receiving the dole and a €50 allowance.As you’d expect, the bulk of participants are young, with around 40 per cent in their mid- to late-twenties or early- to mid-thirties.

    What surprised me a little was that more than a fifth of interns were aged over 35, with those in the 36-45 age group accounting for 14 per cent of participants. A further eight per cent were in the 46-plus category.

    Becoming an intern in your late-thirties, forties or above must be really difficult. While it’s not quite ‘working for free’, does it hurt your pride as well as your pocket? Or do we just need to change the prevailing mindset about the whole concept of interning? If you have an opinion on the scheme, and particularly if you’re a participant, would you be good enough to comment below? If you’d prefer to comment anonymously email me at mminihan@irishtimes.com and let me know if we can publish some of your comments without naming you. Thanks.

    Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has won praise for the initiative from Forbes magazine, which describes it as “an innovative internship program that welcomes older workers”. While this may not have been Ms Burton’s intention when setting up the scheme, she has posted the article on her website anyway. http://bit.ly/Ldjslk

    On a lighter note, the article alerts me belatedly to the news that Tiny Fey is set to star in a film called The Intern, which features a wannabe employee who happens to be in his seventies.

    With hilarious consequences, no doubt.

    (Here’s Empire’s summary of the plot: “The plot will find Fey as the founder of a thriving e-business focused on fashion who agrees to take on an intern. But instead of the high-school or college senior she was expecting, a man in his seventies arrives. Bored with retirement and looking to prove that he can still be useful, the new employee initially rubs his boss the wrong way, but he soon becomes essential.”)

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