FRIDAY 18 JAN 2013 11:06 AM


Unpaid internships have been loathed and lauded, depending on the perspective. However, they are still the norm in many sectors, including the design and public relations industries.

To combat the misuse of interns and unpaid labour, the PRCA has issued strict guidance to the PR industry recommending that interns be paid the National Minimum Wage. The Intern Guidelines researched by the PRCA have produced a number of findings on the status of interns in the PR industry.

Ben Lyons, director of Intern Aware, an organisation that campaigns for fair, paid internships, says "The PRCA's guidelines represent a really positive step forward for the PR industry. We hope PR firms adopt them as a means of ensuring fairness - and recruiting better staff."

It found that 40% of internships last over three months, affordability thus becomes an issue for interns working for an undervalued wage. Of those surveyed, 33% say they could not afford their internship. However, they have become a prerequisite to attain a job in PR as over half of respondents say internships are of the utmost importance for doing so.

Introducing the Guidelines, PRCA director general Francis Ingham says, “It is now our duty, and our responsibility, to attract the very brightest talent, regardless of background - and to remove the barriers to accessing our industry that unpaid internships are creating.”

The PRCA itself has takent measures to combat the rising trend in unpaid internships by instituting an apprenticeship scheme that combines educational training with on-the-job work experience.

 To read more about interns, click here.