Home > Careers, Employment > To pay or not to pay? Organisations that charge you fees to work for them

To pay or not to pay? Organisations that charge you fees to work for them

You’ve seen the perfect opportunity, an internship abroad which promises an amazing experience where you will learn a whole host of skills and gain invaluable experience, which will make your CV look like a shining beacon to future employers. You scroll down to the bottom of the vacancy and oh, there it is, ‘The fees chargeable to the student are…’

In the world of work there are many companies who will want to charge you fees to undertake an opportunity with them. Understandably this can be a bit daunting when trying to figure out if you should pay or who you shouldn’t be paying.

What kinds of companies charge fees?

The opportunities come from a wide range of employers which are mostly based abroad, although you may come across some in the UK. The jobs are generally labelled as an internship, grad scheme, summer job or placement and could be for any role working in any sector. The University is now advertising opportunities that have fees attached to them on your online jobs board CareerHub. All of these vacancies and organisations will have the words ‘Fee Based’ in the title, so they are easy for you to identify. They also contain a link to a resource which will help you to check the company before making a decision.

What am I paying for?

Companies normally charge fees for things like accommodation, food, excursions, visas, flights, and airport transfers, social and cultural activities. Each fees will cover different things but its best for you to check out what they cover before parting with your money.

Fee information can be found on the company’s website and could be labelled under ‘Fees’ section or a similar heading. If you can’t find any or all the information you are looking for it’s best to give them a call. Failing that, if you are really worried the Careers, Employment and Enterprise Service are happy to have a look over the opportunity with you. Click HERE for contact details

Protect yourself from EXTORTIONATE fees

There are companies out there who are legitimate and lots of students go to work for them very successfully each year. However, unfortunately there are some that will charge ridiculous fees or have hidden admin charges, that’s why it’s best to do some thorough checks before applying. See resource for further information.

One way to try and safeguard yourself when dealing with these companies, is to do all of the checks we have suggested and ensure you have all communications from the company saved by email or in writing. It can’t ever fully protect you from the unreputable companies but if there are ever any problems, you can provide evidence of any payments made and any information given to you by the company.

Can you afford it?

As mentioned above some companies cover costs for accommodation, food and travel in their fees but some don’t. If you’re having to pay a big upfront fee and the company isn’t offering a decent salary or covering your costs of living, you may want to weigh up if it’s worth paying to work there against the experience you will gain.

Want more information on fee based companies? View our handy resource here.

By Chloe Collins, Careers Officer/Employer Liaison (SME) at the University of Hertfordshire.

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