The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

‘The new degree?’ Constructing internships in the third sector

Record type: Article

The recent economic recession has impacted substantially on the graduate labour market, with many graduates now struggling to find secure employment in professional careers. In this context, temporary, unpaid ‘internships’ have emerged as increasingly important as a ‘way in’ to work for this group. Yet while there has been much media and policy debate on internships, academic consideration has been scant. This paper begins to address this knowledge gap by drawing on a study of interns in a third sector environmental organisation. The research findings reveal that unpaid internships were rationalised through a complex mix of political motivations, career ambitions and lifestyle aims, but these intersected in important ways with social class. These findings are not only of empirical interest, contributing to our knowledge of graduate negotiations of precarity, but also of theoretical value, extending our understanding of young people’s agency and motivations in transitions into work.

PDF Leonard, Halford and Bruce final.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Other.
Download (658kB)
PDF 383.full.pdf - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (398kB)


Leonard, Pauline, Halford, Susan and Bruce, Katie (2016) ‘The new degree?’ Constructing internships in the third sector Sociology, 50, (2), pp. 383-399. (doi:10.1177/0038038515574456).

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 January 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 May 2015
Published date: April 2016
Keywords: youth, transitions, internships, third sector, recession, class
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology


Local EPrints ID: 374623
ISSN: 0038-0385
PURE UUID: 420a58d8-68ed-45a9-8ecf-c455f46b8a66
ORCID for Pauline Leonard: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Feb 2015 14:54
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:25

Export record



Author: Pauline Leonard ORCID iD
Author: Susan Halford
Author: Katie Bruce

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.