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Queen Mary marks the first Living Wage Week

As a partner of the Living Wage Foundation, Queen Mary, University of London will be marking the first Living Wage Week from 4-10 November 2012, taking part in the events and celebrations aimed at getting employers and the public talking about the benefits of this higher rate of pay.

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Queen Mary became the first Living Wage campus in the UK in 2006, bringing all cleaning services in-house to ensure workers are paid enough to provide their family with life’s essentials. The current living wage in London is £8.55 per hour, or £7.45 outside the capital, compared to the legal minimum wage of £6.19 for those over the age of 21.

Queen Mary’s careers centre has set up its own student recruitment agency, QM Temps, ensuring that students taking on temporary work are paid at least the London Living Wage. The agency offers a specialised and tailored service to current students and recent graduates, helping candidates find temporary jobs within the College and both temporary and permanent positions with local organisations.

In the last few months, QM Temps has found students paid work within Queen Mary’s School of Economics and Finance, the Blizard Institute, the College’s Language Centre, online publishers and other local businesses.

QM Interns – a service aimed at finding paid short-term placements for students looking to improve their CVs – is also set to launch in January 2013.

The Internship Coordinators will be actively seeking placements that meet, or exceed, the London Living Wage in Small to Medium Enterprises and large graduate recruiters. QM Interns joins the growing suite of placement services within the new Work Experience Hub of Queen Mary’s Careers Centre. All students will be offered application and interview coaching and feedback on their performance, to help them to compete for internships.

"Competition for quality, paid internships is high across the country, so the objective of this new scheme is two-fold - both to help Queen Mary students access the opportunities out there and to support employers in the generation of new opportunities. Internships are the 'leg-up' students need to enter the graduate job market, so this programme - together with our student temp agency and work experience scheme - form an essential part of Queen Mary's Employability Strategy."

Research into the costs and benefits of the Living Wage is being led by Professor Jane Wills of the School of Geography. Her recent study, funded by the charity Trust for London, found that not paying workers the Living Wage has huge potential costs for business, workers and the Treasury.

Professor Wills’ research shows that the government could save almost £1bn per year if all workers in London received at least the Living Wage, because of the increase in taxes paid and a reduction in welfare spending. Her survey is the first to look at the overall happiness of employers, showing that more than half of employees (54 per cent) felt more positive about their workplace once the Living Wage was introduced, with 52 per cent feeling more loyal to their employers.

Professor Wills joins speakers including Labour MPs Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves in addressing the Living Wage Parliamentary Reception on Wednesday 7 November, as part Living Wage Week.

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Rupert Marquand
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