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Gavin, I am currently in a top management position in a major bank in central america. I share your concern on how limited internship opportunies are for high schoolers. My daughter is your age and she was able to get an intership in a university lab in the US, but only because she befriended a professor in that university in a university tour and that professor was willing to give her the chance eventhough university regulation requires that all interns be 18 years or older.
The same happened in the bank I work for, one of my daughters classmates asked me if he could intern with us, to which I agreed, only to find out that our coporations policy is for interns to be at least 18 years old. He did intern with us but I had to go around getting many policy exceptions approved for that to happen.
My point is that around the world, high schoolers are not yet adults, and employing them even as interns with current labor laws create a liability for the companies willing to employ them. In my opinion there is a necessity to review labor laws and policies and make changes in them to encourage companies to employ high school students.
I consider that interships give high schoolers the opportunity to develop important job skills, and more importantly it allows them to test the waters on different career choices.