Students and graduates alike are encouraged by careers advisers, schools and universities to undertake work experience to improve their employability.
Work experience and internships can be a great shout – having a work placement or two on your CV shows potential employers that you are hard working, committed to your career and that you have a working knowledge of the world of work.
New prank TV show The Work Experience shows just how much store students put by work placements – and how far they are willing to go to land their dream job.
Each week, cameras follow two interns during what they believe to be a week’s unpaid work experience – but the entire agency is staffed by actors.
Fake London fashion PR agency Grade PR sets the interns ridiculous tasks – such as collecting sperm from former Blue member Simon Webbe and then holding up the boss’s legs for the duration of a cab journey to increase her chances of artificial insemination.
Former EastEnders actress Kate Miles, who plays ‘boss’ Joanna Grade, said: “None of them twigged at all, we couldn't believe it. Even though they were put in such bizarre situations.
“People are so concerned about how they are coming across they are not thinking about whether or not you are real.”
One of the interns who took part, Brave Benson, said that he “never questioned what [he] was asked to do” and simply ensured he did it to the best of his abilities.
The jobs market is “nearly impossible to enter” he continued, adding that he was “willing to do whatever it took” to land his dream job.
Another scene from the show depicts interns getting ‘arrested’ when Grade PR hires Latvian prostitutes for a catwalk show after being banned by all model agencies.
However, the interns are rewarded for their ordeal – each were offered a month’s paid work experience at a real fashion PR agency after the hoax was revealed, helping them on their way to getting full-time graduate jobs
Benson was offered a full-time position at White Smoke Communications, one of London’s top PR agencies, after appearing on The Work Experience.
He said: “I knew the fashion industry was very exclusive...The Work Experience most definitely helped me get employed by getting my foot in the door.”