First of all I would like to point out that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as an intern. I have now done 6 months worth of internships in 4 different design studios, some of which I have learnt a lot from, some not so much. Some were paid, some not.
In the last few years internships have become increasingly popular. They help you gain experience to bag the job of your dreams. They can last anything from 1 week to 1 year.
I believe that interning is somewhat unfair for the following reasons; Coming out of university you are subject to thousands of pounds in debt, only to find you will not only have to delay paying it off, but increase that debt by considerably more; They are only available to the middle and upper class aka the people who can afford to support themselves whilst gaining experience; It is unclear how much 'experience' is enough to bag the job of your dreams; Lastly, the 'experience' we gain is usually rather degrading following 3 or more years in university training to be the best we can in the profession we have chosen.