High-flying legal professionals have been caught using a controversial website, Myinternswap.com, to find short-term work experience for their teenage kids.
The website, launched last year, pitches itself as the “new old boys network” and connects professionals wanting to trade work experience placements for their children.
British barrister Julian Christopher QC recently posted an offer to exchange work experience at his chambers, 5 Paper Buildings, for an equivalent opportunity for his 17-year-old son.
5 Paper Buildings has a strict application procedure for prospective pupils. Mr Christopher told Legal Cheek he was not intending to bypass this process and later deleted the post.
Mr Christopher is not alone is using the website; Legal Cheek found offers from lawyers at major international law firms and The Guardian found offers from employees at the BBC, ITV, HSBC, Ted Baker, an embassy and even the Royal Navy.
The BBC told The Guardian it is committed to equal opportunity and does not permit work experience placements to be organised through the website.
Folklaw has no doubt well-connected parents pull all the strings they can find to build their kids the best resumes, but this website uses technology to unreasonably extend this power and crush social mobility.
The website allows parents to reach out beyond their golf club-private school-work colleague network and reduce their professional success and social clout to a transaction.
How is a child without a posh parent supposed to break into a high-paying industry when the all-important work experience is being monopolised by the offspring of the nauseatingly privileged?
Folklaw could see only three offers from Australian professionals on the website, but the founder, Nick Simmons, has said 700 offers across 40 countries have been made so far.
The website charges £24 for an annual subscription, but Mr Simmons has said less-advantaged students will soon be able to use the Myinternswap.com for free. Folklaw is not entirely convinced this small concession will collapse all those class divides the website just helped reinforce.