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A third of graduate interns working unpaid

Almost a third of university graduate interns work without pay, new research showed yesterday.

At any one time, there are at least 21,000 people working as unpaid interns in Britain, according to a new analysis by the Sutton Trust.

It warned that unpaid internships were increasingly seen as the first step towards a career in highly competitive professions, such as journalism, politics and law, but many workers may be losing out because they cannot afford to work for free.

A six-month unpaid placement in London would cost more than £5,500 excluding transport, while for a similar position in Manchester a graduate would need over £4,700.

The figures come as a new survey conducted by the trust found that almost seven in 10 people in England believe that unpaid internships are unfair because they benefited those from wealthy families.

A similar proportion agreed that unpaid internships were unfair because everybody working should be paid some sort of salary.

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