The University of Birmingham has withdrawn an advert for an unpaid intern after coming under fire from a lecturer’s union.
The advert was posted online seeking an “honorary research assistant” in the School of Psychology.
The advert was taken down from the Jobs.ac.uk website after the University and College Union (UCU) claimed the unpaid role “undermined the principles of equal pay”.
The listing said the department was looking for “excellent graduates” to work a minimum of two days a week.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Unpaid internships have caused concern about access to the professions, especially where there is an over-supply of graduates and an under-supply of paid employment opportunities.
“Clearly not everyone can afford to work for nothing and universities need to recognise the importance of people being paid properly for their work.”
“Failing to pay researchers undermines the principles of equal pay and is clearly discriminatory.”
A university spokesman said the psychology department received “many” requests from students for work experience, and posted the advert to make placements available to all.
The spokesman said: “Although the honorary research assistantships were conceived as training positions, the university recognises that this was not clear and has, consequently, withdrawn the advertisement.”
“The University is strongly committed to providing appropriate training and support to students and graduates.”