The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
There is a piece in The Times today by our trustee Alex Graham calling on top companies to “break the vicious circle around jobs and experience”. Alex runs the TV production company Wall to Wall, that makes some of the most popular shows on UK television, including Who Do You Think You Are? and New Tricks. In the article he points out that unpaid internships are often the first step on the ladder for young people seeking work:
“Unpaid internships have become the principal entry point for young people seeking work in sectors such as the media, the creative industries and Parliament.”
He goes on to say that while it’s appealing to employers to take on people unpaid, it’s a temptation that should be resisted:
“The reasons are simple. Such internships are simply not an option for most young people on the dole. Unless your parents can support you financially, you can’t afford to work for nothing long-term. So most unpaid interns are middle-class kids with relatively well-off parents.”
Alex also talks about his experience of starting out in the media industry:
“My mum was a secretary in a school. In 1978, a few weeks before I finished journalism college, she was widowed. Haringey Council kicked me out of my student flat and the bank chopped up my cheque card after I failed to pay off an unauthorised overdraft. I needed a job quickly – and a paid one at that. Fortunately, I won a place on an innovative internship programme with The Sunday Times. During a 15-week placement we were paid a bursary of £750 but any pieces we wrote that made it into the paper were paid for at proper freelance rates. The result was a scheme that minimised the up-front cost to the employer if we didn’t deliver while guaranteeing that we were properly rewarded if we did.”
Read the full article here in The Times (behind the paywall): http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article3210860.ece
New Deal of the Mind is launching a campaign next year to address this issue and persuade leading employers in the creative industries to phase out prolonged internships. We’ll also be working hard to highlight the best practise that already exists in the sector when it comes to recruiting from a diverse group of people for entry level jobs.
If you’re an employer and would like to get involved, please get in contact with Marcus Mason email@example.com.