The Future of Work and Employment
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The Future of Work and Employment

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson and Michael Barry

This cutting-edge book charts the latest ideas and concepts in employment relations research. Mapping out the intellectual boundaries of the field, The Future of Work and Employment outlines the key research and policy outcomes for work and employment in the age of digitisation and artificial intelligence.
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Chapter 3: Unpaid work experience and internships: a growing and contested feature of the future of work

Paula McDonald and Deanna Grant-Smith

Abstract

A central feature of work and workplace transformations globally has been the rapid expansion of internships and educationally focused work experience. Such experiences are now widely considered foundational in facilitating ‘employability’ and as a pathway into a reconfigured paid labour market. The practice of unpaid work and internships is therefore a crucial, yet under-recognised dimension of debates about the future of work and employment relations. This chapter addresses three streams of research that have advanced knowledge of trends in relation to the future of (unpaid) work experience, providing a critical summary of debates in the field. These themes comprise: (1) modes and types of unpaid work; (2) the expansion and prevalence of unpaid work; and (3) the impacts of unpaid work on participants and other workers. The final section of the chapter canvasses a forward agenda for future research and practice.

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