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Opinion: Why we have changed our approach to internships

Posted by It's Nice That,

Following on from a review of our intern programme, this week’s Opinion piece spells out our new approach to junior positions at It’s Nice That and internships on our Jobsboard. As always you can join the debate below…

Back in July, then intern Maisie Skidmore wrote an article commenting on the increasingly heated debate about unpaid internships, inflamed by comments reportedly made by D&AD Chairman Dick Powell (who later insisted his words had been taken out of context).

It’s fair to say that within the context of the debate, many people questioned our own approach to internships. We promised we would review our protocols, reach out to people for advice and consider our options before feeding back here; this is that feedback.

In the past our internship programme worked within the framework of the apprenticeship scheme and was paid accordingly, this was because there was a great deal of time and effort spent developing the skills of those interns; this was not the same as a junior full-time position.

We believe this is no longer appropriate and so we have decided to end our current internship programme. From now on we will focus our resources on junior freelance positions which will be paid at least national minimum wage. This will be a more ad hoc programme of positions rather than continuous placements; the sums don’t add up for that. But the commitment is genuine; two of our full-time staff started off as interns and we have someone on precisely this kind of freelance contract.

In line with our own new policy, we accept that our approach to the Jobsboard has to change too. So again all internships posted will have to pay national minimum wage; if they don’t they won’t appear on the site.

We accept that for some, what we are doing is the minimum they would expect from our organisation. We are also grateful for the many messages of support we received from former interns who gave us their feedback about their time here and what they got out of placements with us.

And for us this isn’t the end of the conversation. We promised to review our approach and we did; we promised to feedback to our readers and we have. And we promise now that we will continue to monitor this situation, and to that end we welcome all comments below…

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