#4 Created over 1,200 paid internships in the creative sector

,  26 February 2015

Since May 2013 we have supported the creation of over 1,200 paid internships. That means over 1,200 individual lives taking the step from unemployment to paid work, bringing new ideas to the sector we love and contributing to its future.

What? Working 12 hour days for an occasional smile and the possibility that you might be considered for future unpaid work didn’t appeal to you? How on earth did you manage to get a job in this sector? 
 
It always amazes me that I still meet employers who think that creating unpaid jobs is fair, that this ‘favour’ of ‘employment’ should somehow be repaid by working long hours, late nights and early starts.

A culture of unpaid internships

The endemic culture of unpaid internships in our sector means that those who aren’t able to work for free sometimes end up not working at all, which results in a tragic loss of talent and skill to our industry. This is why I am proud to have spent the last two years campaigning solely for paid internships, something we’re passionate about at Creative & Cultural Skills.  

Over 1,200 individuals will experience the brilliance of our sector first-hand and contribute to its outputs.

Since May 2013 we have supported the creation of over 1,200 paid internships in the sector through the Creative Employment Programme. In isolation, 1,200 opportunities may feel like a mere drop in the ocean when you consider how many talented young people there are looking for a break in our industry, and in many ways it is.

But let’s just stop and reflect on this for a moment. This means over 1200 individual lives will take the step from unemployment (and associated unemployment related benefits) to paid work. Over 1,200 individuals that will experience the brilliance of our sector first-hand and contribute to its outputs. And over 1,200 individual minds that bring new ideas and energies to the sector we love and want to see thrive for years to come.

Paying interns and the law

Paying interns isn’t just a fair thing to do, it is also a lawful thing to do. More often than not the unpaid internships that take place in our sector contravene National Minimum Wage legislation. Employers who create these roles are often acting unlawfully, so it is testament to the forward thinking nature of the employers I’ve worked with over the last two years that they have joined us in our campaign and made the change to paid internships.  

More often than not the unpaid internships that take place in our sector contravene National Minimum Wage legislation.

These employers not only recognise that young people introduce new and innovative ideas and a fresh perspective on their business, but they have seen first-hand the increased productivity as a result: a micro business recently reported to me that four of the paid interns they’d taken on in the last year had helped increase the organisation’s productivity by 692 per cent!

The last two years haven’t been easy - changing culture never is - but when I hear some of the stories from the young people we’ve funded who have now progressed onto permanent employment, and how surprised some employers have been to find such talented young people at their local job centre, I know it’s all been worth it. 

Creative & Cultural Skills will continue to drive this mission: in another ten years we believe paying interns will be the industry norm.  

In the run up to our annual conference and tenth birthday celebration we're looking back at our biggest achievements of the past decade: one a day for ten days.


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