The BBC has launched an investigation into the abuse of work experience opportunities by senior employees — and told staff that placements should be given on merit, not sold at auction through private arrangements.
The news comes after 19-year-old Beverley Nesbitt claims she was ‘bullied’ by broadcaster Vanessa Feltz during a week of work experience she paid £120 for, after bidding at a university charity auction organised by Feltz’s daughter Saskia Kurer, 21.
Nesbitt — a second year film student at Manchester Metropolitan University — says she hoped the placement at BBC radio would help her make contacts in media. But she claims the placement turned sour after Feltz was “rude” and “horrible” to her. “In the end I just went to the toilet and cried. I must have been in there for two hours, just texting my mum. I just wanted to go home.”
She also claims that Feltz told her to “grow up” when she was asked to cold call potential guests on her show. She also claims that when Nesbitt admitted she hasn’t heard of the poet Yeats, Feltz told her to write a 2,000 essay on him — and scolded her when she didn’t deliver it the next day.
Graduate Fog has no inside scoop on whether any of Nesbitt’s claims are true – but I am glad to see the BBC have been forced to admit that unofficial unpaid interns are rife within its organisation.