Fact is, what kind of exposure are you going to expect from a medical research company?
It's hardly the next Olympic logo. (not that I'd touch that one with a shitty stick).
Design companies have no excuse at all.
::I still get asked to do trial jobs....::
So do I.
I was asked if I'd design a beer label recently and agreed.
Through the thinly veiled brief they wanted spec work from many designers for free and pick their favourite.
Essentially a design competition.
They even used the word "exposure" in the description.
These people have such a limited vocabulary.
I don't agree with unpaid internships... but... if it's for a great studio, who do really interesting work, you get mentored by someone who's got a heap of experience, they take you to meetings, shoots etc and you get some solid work to put in your portfolio etc well at least you have gotten SOME VALUE for your time. (Although I still believe in this situation you deserve an apprentice wage, at the very least.)
As far as I can tell this company are offering nothing in return. Exposure? Ah no. Mentoring? Doesn't sound like it.
In my experience I think internships an work experience tend to be a complete waste of time.
A kind of idealistic notion that sounds great in theory but doesn't really work in the real world apart from a few cases.
When I worked at a newspaper we used to get kids come from schools on work experience.
I remember they'd come in thinking they may be doing something exciting or creative and then seeing them stood photocopying all day or just sat around because staff just couldn't be bothered with them.
I couldn't stand to see them looking so disappointed with life so I used to take them on and set them a projects to do where they'd learn something and no matter how small, get something they'd done in print before they left.
The difference was amazing. They'd leave buzzing although I can't help feeling a bit guilty for those that went on to pursue a career in design.
Placements during relevant courses (rather than just school work experience) is the only time I could accept not being paid, and for a very short period, and then it also relies on the time being well supervised by the education provider to ensure the student is doing more learning rather than working. It can happen, and does, but not all the time due often to either budgets or laziness of education provider (and lack of morals of the placement company).
An ad agency I worked for years ago created a work experience brief and essentially sent the student off for the week to attempt it. They would be come in for 2 hours a day to get help and show work and then could stay or go. It worked really well.
Studios could easily do this for eager students. The mentoring and advice would still be there but working on actual clients wouldn't. There is no real excuse for getting them to do real work.
Then there's the old "if you do a good job this first time, there'll be plenty more work". Fell for that when I was starting out. Good experience in learning to detect bs and stand up for yourself, still sucks though.