Young, talented and working for free

Behold! Interns Anonymous and Judgement Productions present a short but sweet documentary on internships.

NB: We are keeping this post at the top of the page for now - but please scroll down to see new posts as they arrive.

In a series of interviews, interns talk about their highs and lows, how they afford to work for free, the ways in which internships restrict social mobility and alternative systems to those that operate in the UK.

11 Responses to “Young, talented and working for free”

  1. 1 James 10/27/2009 at 7:10 pm

    Good stuff - good issues well raised. My one complaint is that there;s no mention of the fact that unpaid internships are nearly a breach of employment law. The national minimum wage isn’t an opt in opt out piece of legislation.

  2. 2 Pat Duggan 10/28/2009 at 8:38 am

    Very, very good. Much more powerful when you see and hear the views and stories of the actual people involved. Congrats to all.

  3. 3 Rachael Lyons 10/28/2009 at 7:00 pm

    This is fantastic - I feel like I have been screaming about this for years and no one understands me or is listening to what is being said.
    Even starting off in a Media/Art Industry I have been offered 12-14k for starters which I can not afford to live on, especially in London unless I was claiming JSA as the intern from the youth Organisation said. Thank you for making a voice and broadcasting it. Good luck to all of you :)

  4. 4 simon 11/25/2009 at 3:22 pm

    What is wrong with you people? You must be lacking in self-esteem. Never work for no pay. How daft do you need to be?

    Every last one of you need to get smart and grow up. I’m sorry, but on my uniersity classes, if any of my students were discussing with me the possibility of working for free, I’d be worried about their intellect, their ability to plan ahead, to think through their actions. You are demonstrating a lack of independence, a lack of initiative, and a mindset that is easily manipulated.

    This country has had a serious class problem for centuries. Why would someone from a sink estate bother when they know they will never escape check-outs or burger flipping. You lot are making it impossible for the bright, poorer people to take advantage of a good education. I know. To be told that people like me should not be allowed to attend university in the first place by a rich mother, who announced I was creating problems for her kids since with my education I would take the jobs she thought her kids were entitled to was truly shocking in this day and age.

    It looks like you lot are being manipulated by the likes of that mother. And you complain? Just don’t do it! Join the army and get some respect, a salary and a view of real life. Do something else, like Victim Support. Simple.

    Shame on every last one of you. Shame on every last one of you.

    Merit? Society? My backside.

  5. 5 Helen 11/25/2009 at 5:27 pm

    Anyone who has done a job of work (i.e. set hours and set tasks) is entitled to NMW. Unpaid interns (unless the internships took place during study) can claim NMW AFTER they leave the company/employer. If more brave unpaid interns did this and a few companies were fined as a result, I am sure companies and employers would start to find the money to pay interns what they were due. The opportunities wouldn’t dry up, they’d just start to be paid opportunities!

    Anyone who wishes to make a claim should contact HMRC. It is also possible to report all the companies who advertise for unpaid interns to HMRC. The problem is that companies try to wriggle out of their legal obligations by calling interns “volunteers”. However the law and HMRC are clear about the distinction and many unpaid internships cannot be classed as volunteering.

    An individual cannot waive his/her right to NMW (although I know many don’t claim this right!).

    Why not claim what you are due after you have left the company ? you will be doing yourself a favour and those who come after you.

  6. 6 Mark Watson 11/25/2009 at 7:00 pm

    And if anyone does want to make a claim, or just wants to know more, then please feel free to contact me to find out more. Free, unbiased advice with no obligation, I’ll tell you if you might have a strong case to be paid or not and how to go about putting in a claim.

    Email me on

    Best wishes


  7. 7 /b/tard 11/25/2009 at 9:11 pm

    All I can say to you graduates is - tough shit. You think you’re entitled to a job after 4 years at your expensive day-care centres at the tax payers expense?

    You WANT the sparkly career and all the trappings, and if internships are the route to that, then suck it up. You should be bloody grateful employers are even looking at you.

    And as for being exploited then ditched, well, that’s capatalism, so fucking well get used it.

  8. 8 Penny Less 11/25/2009 at 11:50 pm

    Just seen this article via Twitter…
    wish everyone else got it so clearly.

  9. 9 Ron Taylor 11/26/2009 at 11:02 am

    Your film has sound problems. It does not make you look good to have a film with no sound in places.

    Ron Taylor (ex BBC).

    • 10 internsanonymous 11/26/2009 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Ron
      We are aware that there are problems with the production but we were working on no budget and with a crew who all work full-time, so we had finish filming in short space of time. The purpose of the film is to get a message across and I can only apologise if the production prevents this from coming across.

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