Describing itself as ‘the new old boys’ network’, My Intern Swap is accused of shutting those from less privileged backgrounds out
As you get older, it becomes more and more impossible to ignore the headstart that people with rich and successful mums and dads have. It's just a fact. The hockey-playing guy who described stuff he didn't like as "gay" has a job in the City and that girl who went on two gap years without having ever worked a day in her life has snagged a really cool job that you didn't see advertised anywhere. Maybe they were helped out by the same social privileges that have inspired new website My Intern Swap.
My Intern Swap is a work experience website set up by a Notting Hill parent that aims to land kids cool placements. This is how it works: if your dad has a cool job and you want work experience at your other posh friend's mum's law firm, you can "swap" internships thus keeping internships even more exclusive to people with cash. It costs £24 a year to sign up.
Its founder Nick Simmons runs a design agency in Notting Hill. He spoke to the Guardian and revealed the extremely Notting Hillish reasons for setting up My Intern Swap. "Finding a placement is often down to who you know, but not everyone has those sorts of connections,” he said. "I agreed to give Marina a placement, and by way of saying thank you her mother found Izzy experience at the thinktank where she worked. It’s a tool we hope will kick the old boy network into touch and help democratise the process of securing valuable work experience.”
We've got no idea why he thinks this will democratise anything. Kids and parents from big houses in Notting Hill don't hang around with kids and parents from estates in Hackney. It's just a fact. Poorer parents don't have £24 a year to try and land their children a week at a thinktank and the site just seems like a favour swapshop for rich kids to boost their CVs when they don't really need any more help.
Tanya de Grunwald is a campaigner for fair internships, and editor of the website Graduate Fog. She doesn't trust the idea. "MyInternSwap is a neat idea with a cute name, but it effectively encourages parents in managerial roles in desirable professions to trade CV-enhancing career opportunities amongst each other, locking out those from less privileged backgrounds,” she said.
Nick Simmons did however say that there were plans to introduce "an orphan scheme" for parents who were unable to return the favour.