Ban unpaid internships to break the ‘class ceiling’, say MPs

APPG calls for action to boost social mobility


Unpaid internships should be banned by the government to even up the odds for young people who can’t afford to work for free.

That’s the conclusion of an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on social mobility, published today, into helping less privileged people build a career in the leading professions.

The resulting report, called The Class Ceiling, said unpaid internships should be banned, and that more firms should look at a candidate’s achievement in the context of their social background when deciding how much potential they have.

MPs also said employers should recruit more from outside London and cover travel costs for interviews or work experience.



In the foreward to the report, Labour MP Justin Madders, Convervative MP Andrea Jenkyns and Lib Dem Baroness Tyler said:

“Our professions should reflect our communities and our country, and employers themselves would ultimately benefit from harnessing the broader experience and potential of the country as a whole and not just established groups.”


Their recommendations follow the Sutton Trust’s Leading People 2016 report which found almost a third of new MPs in 2015 were independently educated.

Nearly three quarters of High Court and Appeals Court judges went to private schools, along with half the top 100 news journalists and two-thirds of British Oscar winners.

Madders, chair of the APPG, added:

“We know that social mobility at the top of UK society is shamefully low.

If the current government is serious about improving access to top jobs for those from less advantaged homes, they need to take a much more strategic approach.

This means linking the work of schools, universities and employers to build a real business case and practical plan for improving social mobility.”

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