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Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How valuable is work experience?

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has branded critics of the government's work experience scheme for young jobseekers as "job snobs" after complaints over placements in businesses such as Tesco and Maplin.

Iain Irving, who was successfully employed after a period of work experience scheme, told the Today programme's James Naughtie that lack of experience was preventing him from getting a job and work experience allowed him to gain this experience.

But Mark Dunk, spokesperson for the Right to Work Campaign and unemployed activist, said they are calling for people to be paid for the work they do.

Mr Dunk said that unpaid work experience does not give people a better chance of getting work and that it "fits the definition of slavery", whereas Iain Irving insisted it was down to the people looking for the work experience to make sure it is valuable and relevant.

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