Culture secretary says interns should be paidMPs have raised concerns over publicly-funded bodies offering unpaid internships.
During questions to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons of February 14, the culture secretary Maria Miller was urged to make sure internship opportunities were not limited to those with financial support.
Miller told MPs that it was departmental policy to pay at least the national minimum wage to all employees, including interns.
Miller said: “Work experience and internships are an incredibly helpful way for young people to get into employment, and evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions backs that up.”
The British Film Institute (BFI) had placed adverts for 18 unpaid internships in November 2012 to compensate for the fifth of its workforce that had been made redundant in 2011 following government spending cuts, the London Evening Standard reported.
“The BFI wants to ensure that work experience is available to people from a cross-section of society, and it has advertised its internships in such as way as to ensure that happens,” Miller told MPs.
The BFI is set to review its internship policy at the beginning of March, Labour MP Stella Creasy said and urged the culture secretary to commit to writing to the BFI to encourage it to pay its interns.
A petition has been placed online urging the BFI to stop using unpaid interns to allow all people to intern no matter what their financial support. The petition had received 12,553 supporters by the time ALN went to press.
The day following the parliamentary questions the UAL’s Student Union took part in a Pay Your Interns protest outside London Fashion Week.