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Growing the future

By Kate Parker

9 April 2015

These days it is too often assumed that internships must be endured by all young people as their first step towards entering the highly competitive industries. They are sent to work with little or no pay to gain that all important experience, references and hopefully a foot in the door.

This misconception highlights how the true meaning of the word ‘intern’ has been lost – and how critical it is to reclaim it. As the campaign InternAware says, the terms ‘work experience’, ‘voluntary work’ and ‘intern’ are all too frequently confused.

We have a rolling programme of paid internships in recognition of both the contribution they make immediately, and the potential talent they provide for us in the future.

We pay the London Living Wage from day 1 and provide a structured programme of opportunities to ensure they are learning throughout their three months with us.   Our interns have a proper role within the team, work hard and are recognised for the contributions they make.

Recognising the benefits of diversity and fresh perspectives that interns provide, we actively encourage applications from people of all ages and backgrounds, using websites like Trading Times and linking with local employment agencies.

Over the last three years, 62% of our interns have had their contracts extended with us and several are now flourishing project managers at the heart of our business.

With one in five young people out of work, the demand for internships continues to rise.  It is critical that the PR industry continues to respect the support they provide by paying a fair wage.  We are delighted to support the PRCA’s intern campaign and to see so many other agencies doing the same. Together we are not only growing individual skills that are so critical for the future of our businesses, we are also raising the standard for UK employment overall.