• Opinion-lead

    Opinion: Why paid internships are the best way forward for all concerned

Opinion

Opinion: Why paid internships are the best way forward for all concerned

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

This week the debate over interns has raised its head again with two very different contributions. Here our own (paid!) intern Maisie Skidmore looks at the new row and explains why Intern magazine offers some hope. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below…

The arrival of Intern magazine sparked an interesting debate in the It’s Nice That studio this week, over an issue which has, over the last few years, become a melting pot of frustration, resentment and arrogance. Just today D&AD chairman Dick Powell provoked a huge backlash after making a speech which reportedly declared that all graduates should work for free, proclaiming: “Offer anything, do anything. Work for nothing, make tea, carry bags, and learn, learn, learn.” (He has since released a statement to clarify his comments.)

The overall gist of the debate is that interns in the creative industries often work long days for months at a time with no guarantee of improved job prospects at the end.

Last year Vice published an article complaining interns were “rising up off their swivel chairs, shaking their imaginary shackles and demanding what is not rightfully theirs”. The article denounced their efforts to demand more from their work experience, and was largely slammed. Having said that (and you’re probably not going to like me for saying this) beneath the deliberate provocation and the determination to cause controversy, some of the points in this piece do, in fact, carry some weight. 

“Offer anything, do anything. Work for nothing, make tea, carry bags, and learn, learn, learn.”

D&AD Chairman Dick Powell quoted on Dezeen

For one, internships are intended to give young, talented and ambitious people the experience required to help them develop their skills to, eventually, find paid work. They aren’t, and don’t pretend to be, jobs. In fact, many companies in media barely have enough money to pay actual staff for their work, let alone untrained ones. What an internship will ideally do, is cultivate a wide range of skills.

What is more problematic is that we are not talking about a level playing field. Interns whose parents are able to support them financially gain an unfair advantage over those who work hard to maintain their financial independence. This is where Dick Powell’s overarching statements fall short, and where employers can help by paying their interns.

Intern magazine, on the other hand, is taking this difficult topic and using it to create something undeniably positive. Alec Dudson explains that the publication’s intentions are “to be a tactile showcase for the brightest intern and unpaid talent” and "to initiate an important debate about the current culture of internships and its potential implications for the creative industries.”

It’s easy to choose which team we’d rather side with. By solidifying issues which have otherwise been whirring noisily around the internet for some time into a tangible, collective and undoubtedly very beautiful publication Intern looks to salvage what it can from the whole debacle, and to open up the debate to further ideas. 

comments powered by Disqus
Ms-300

Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast. She also oversees our London listings guide This At There.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. List

    Two weeks ago we featured DesignStudio’s Airbnb logo. One week ago copywriter Rob Mitchell of We All Need Words wrote an Opinion piece calling for an end to convoluted brand stories. His article was cheered by some people and incensed others; Sam Peskin and Liam Hamill of VentureThree want to have their say and defend brand strategy. Again you can add your views using the comment thread below…

  2. List

    We were pretty impressed with the new Airbnb logo when it launched last week, but for a different perspective, here’s Rob Mitchell from We All Need Words. He tells us why he’s had enough of “over-cooked brand stories masquerading as strategy” and as ever you can add your thoughts below…

  3. List

    In light of our recent changes and the launch of the new-look Design Observer, Rob Alderson reflects on design websites’ redesigns. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and we’re particularly keen to hear what you’re making of our new look!

  4. List

    This week James Cartwright wonders what the V&A is up to with its policy of “Rapid Response Collecting” and whether it really marks a shift in their curation policy. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

  5. List

    This week Rob Alderson considers the aftermath of the disastrous Robin Thicke Twitter Q&A and wonders how it was ever signed off when what was going to happen seemed entirely predictable. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below.

  6. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what makes a good group show. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be, or are they poised for failure? Tell us what you think of them and which you’ve been to that were especially brilliant or terrible in the comments section below.

  7. Main

    This week online editor Liv Siddall wonders if anyone actually enjoys the huge amount of wacky summertime events that are on offer in London. As always your comments and opinions are welcome below.

  8. Main

    This week, editor Liv Siddall gets excited about the upcoming ELCAF festival in London, and tells you all sternly why YES it is very important that we keep going to live events surrounding graphic arts and comics.

  9. Top

    This week Nat Hunter, director of design at The Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (RSA) and a trustee of D&AD, welcomes awards being given to projects that make a real difference. It might mark, she believes, a fundamental shift in the design world. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  10. Main

    This week our Editorial Assistant Madeleine Morley reflects on her four weeks at It’s Nice That but wonders if the fast turnover of creative content online is really a good thing. Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to join in the conversation below.

  11. Main1

    This week Apple turned down an application for an app that promotes female masturbation on the grounds that it’s inappropriate. Liv Siddall wonders whether, despite the criticism over the design of the app, that was really the issue here. As always, get involved with your own comments below.

  12. Opinion

    This week Rob Alderson looks at actors who were too good-looking for the roles they played and asks Hollywood to give viewers a bit more credit. As ever you can join the discussion below.

  13. Main

    Two years ago when this Opinion feature started, Rob Alderson wrote a piece about the rampant rise of the “must-see” culture; shows which the media’s frenzy makes you feel like you have to go and see. Hands up who found themselves queuing for the Bowie show at the V&A without knowing much more about him than just the chorus to Life on Mars? Me. Who queued bottom-to-crotch in the rain with about 1,000 grumpy pensioners to catch a glimpse of Hockney’s A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy? Also me.