Archive for February, 2010

Internocracy is launching the Interns’ Campaign for Change!

Internocracy - a super organisation that develops bespoke internships for a variety of organisations - is launching a new campaign. They’ve also been nominated for an award and they need your vote by midnight tonight…this is what they have to say:

As part of the Interns’ Campaign for Change, we’re putting together our Interns’ Manifesto, crowdsourced with our Interns’ Advisory Board. Click here if you want to make your views heard, choose the main ideas we should include, or suggest your own.

We’ve been nominated for a Shell LiveWIRE award and if we win, we will hold a live event discussing the problems interns and employers face, and look at what can be changed. We will also Twitter launch our Interns’ Manifesto. Go here to see our video and vote for Internocracy - voting closes tonight at midnight!

Hey intern, get me a coffee and stop whingeing

An interesting article in the Observer this morning by Barbara Ellen…

Does anyone care, I mean really care, about interns? They’ve been complaining recently about being exploited, underpaid (if paid at all), and generally treated as despised dogsbodies.

There is even a website called Interns Anonymous, full of interns complaining about being exploited, underpaid, treated as dogsbodies, etc. On IA, some of the whinges are so lengthy and self-pitying one can’t help but wonder if they might have got on a little better if they’d poured all that energy into the internship.

Of course we are delighted that debate about internships has been highlighted in the national press once again! Read the full article here.

Gallery Girl

I graduated in July 2009 having already done a substantial amount of work experience in between university engagements. I went straight into an internship as a gallery assistant at a contemporary art gallery in East London. I was paid expenses up to £10 a day. However I worked with them for two months (July & August) and did not receive my August expenses payment until December. I have to say I learnt a great deal in this time; in my final week I was actually the manager of the gallery (the manager of the gallery was at this time still an unpaid intern herself, but with the promise of paid work when her 6 month internship was complete).

In September I began a six-month internship at a major national museum, working on exhibitions with six other interns. I am the youngest (I’m 21) and least educated (I only have a BA). I am also the only one still living with my family. As I am only required to work four days per week, I began another internship (in the absence of a job and with the need to do something else other than this first internship), at a small local authorities gallery. This second internship has been incredibly rewarding; I have been able to co-curate an exhibition which has been a fantastic opportunity to complete, and this organisation has always been very grateful and supportive of the work I have done for them.

Continue reading ‘Gallery Girl’

Arts internships: chance of a lifetime or cut-price labour?

A great article in the Guardian this morning referencing the Arts Groups recent report on unpaid internships.

A young acquaintance of mine recently got her first paid job in theatre. She left university two and a half years ago and, since then, has worked part-time in a bar, while also undertaking a series of unpaid or expenses-only work experience placements and internships. Six, to be exact. Now approaching her mid-twenties, she has just got her first salaried employment in the arts. She counts herself lucky, even though it is only a part-time job. She knows people who have been working unpaid in theatres and companies even longer.

Unpaid work has become the accepted route into the creative professions. The Arts Council’s jobs website is awash with such unpaid opportunities, and there are theatres and companies who have become over-reliant on this free graduate labour and couldn’t run without it. Effectively it has become institutionalised.

Well done Lyn Gardner and well done the Arts Group.

A little bit of media coverage

Never shy of sticking our heads above the parapet, Interns Anonymous has been involved in two media features in as many days.

We helped with the research for this great New Statesman article by Rowenna Davis.

Charlie Sonnex works the night shift at Sainsbury’s. Last year, he worked next to Andy Coulson, the Conservatives’ director of communications, as an intern at the party’s headquarters in Westminster. He wanted to stay on, but after nine months of working unpaid, he couldn’t afford it. “All the interns there had rich parents and savings, so I guess the office just had enough applications to keep it going.

Sound familiar? If so why not take our survey for parliamentary interns?

The NS isn’t adverse to hiring unpaid interns itself. The phrase “run on free labour” has crossed our path before. Good on them for the publishing this article though.

We can also be seen discussing internships and social mobility on an episode of Working Lunch (no longer presented by Adrian Chiles, much to my disappointment). See Tuesday’s episode, about 8 minutes in.

Does an internship lead to a job: new survey for all ex-interns

Have you been an intern? Did you get a job or are you unemployed? Are you trapped in an intern cycle?

Whatever state you’re in, if you have been an intern in any sector, please do this survey! Click here to take survey, or visit our surveys page.

NUJ to update work experience/intern guidelines

A new set of guidelines will soon be launched for news and media organisations that take interns and work experience students.

The guidelines, designed by the National Union of Journalists and industry training organisation Skillset, will be a guide for employers to protect young journalists from exploitation. The two groups have re-evaluated previous guidelines from 2007 in response to a rise in the number of graduates who feel compelled to work for little or no wage.

“While most people we raise this with recognise the problem exists, most are surprised by the extent to which major media organisations are relying on free labour,” said NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear last year.

A sentiment many readers of this site will agree with.

Education Secretary champions Internships – but who can afford them?

Via our friends at the Arts Group, David Lammy thinks internships are the way to solve graduate unemployment:

In response to growing concerns over graduate employment (or lack thereof) David Lammy championed Internships and volunteering as access routes into jobs:

“Of course students may be concerned, which is why we are working hard to show that real opportunities are available to them including work, further study, volunteering and Internships. Internships are great way for graduates to kick start their careers by gaining the valuable skills and work experience at a time when they face a more competitive job market.”

Yes David, ‘a great way’ for those who can afford to be exploited by organizations violating the National Minimum Wage. Thanks a bunch. Welcome to the only government who simultaneously claims to champion social mobility whilst also using unpaid work as a strategy for streaming graduates for recruitment.

Can’t really argue with that… 

Internships in Conservation

Interns Anonymous catches five minutes with another ex-intern in our continuing series of interviews. This time, we explore internships in conservation.

Interns Anonymous: You interned in the third sector. Tell me a little about it:

********: Well I was at a conservation charity for three months, and it was called an internship. It was basically an admin position.

Interns Anonymous: What did you do?

********: Filing, archiving files, moving them from paper to a computer and… that’s about it.

Interns Anonymous: What hours did you work?

********: 9 to 5, part-time, for three months.

Interns Anonymous: Did you feel like you got much out of this experience?

********: Well, I learned how to do admin. I know how to do work. I didn’t gain any skills, or qualifications which would help me get paid work in conservation.

Interns Anonymous: Was it sold to you as experience that would lead onto a paid position?

********: Definitely. Yes. That’s what they said. It will be valuable experience for charity or conservation work.

Continue reading ‘Internships in Conservation’

Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story.

We are now on Twitter

  • Discussing internships on BBC World Service later today. #internships 1 week ago

Survey for parliamentary interns

Are you or have you been an unpaid parliamentary intern? If yes then please take our anonymous survey on the experiences of Westminster interns. You can find the survey by clicking the ‘survey’ link at the top of the website.


Interns Anonymous accept no responsibility for the contents of the blog, comments or any other content on this site that is posted or provided by third parties. This website is designed to act as a forum for interns to share experiences and opinions about their work, therefore, we will not censor opinions we do not agree with. The opinions stated in blog contributions do not represent those of Interns Anonymous. We will refrain from mentioning organisations and individuals by name. We disclaim all liability for such content to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have any queries please email us.