Never Not Creative calls for regulated and paid internships via new standards

Industry group, Never Not Creative, is calling upon the agency sector to commit to a set of standards for internships that will support emerging talent’s entry into the industry.

The Internship Minimum Standards target unpaid internships, advising that interns should be paid a minimum hourly rate of $23 plus superannuation, $3.51 above the award rate.

The guidelines also address the exploitation of young talent in internship roles, suggesting a minimum duration of 20 days and a maximum duration of 72, to ensure it is a valuable learning and training experience.

The standards have been endorsed by Interns Australia, AGDA and Youngbloods, and the founding signatories include Ustwo, Portable, The Edison Agency, the Design Business Council and the Creative Women’s Circle.

Andy Wright, the creator of Never Not Creative, said the issue of unpaid and unstructured internships has been ignored for too long.

“We’ve been ignoring the issue of unpaid and unstructured internships for far too long. It’s become commonplace. I think many of us have heard the phrase… we’re busy let’s get an intern in…. as a way of trying to manage sporadic workload. This situation isn’t good for the intern, and it’s certainly not a sustainable strategy for running a successful business,” he said.

69% of interns surveyed by Never Not Creative said they would intern for free, however unstructured internships have long-term effects on talent and the industry, including elitism, a lack of diversity, and the devaluing of creative work.

The Internship Minimum Standards also call for signatories to commit to providing equal opportunity for internships regardless of race, belief, culture, background or gender, and taking into account the intern’s other commitments, such as work and university, in determining the schedule of the internship.

Never Not Creative is also working with universities to adopt the Internship Minimum Standards.

The full list of Internship Minimum Standards (Click to enlarge)

Carol Mackay, director of the Design Business Council, said: “Many businesses we speak to seem to think that an internship is cost prohibitive, which is why they don’t make them available or worse, still go ahead without paying an intern. The reality is, that if you can charge out interns on a small amount of client work, they can pay for themselves in a matter of days.”

Max Resic, director of Interns Australia, also endorsed the standards: “We’ve been working with Never Not Creative to address the issues that we’ve seen across many industries.”

“On average, 87% of internships across Australia are unpaid and 60% are illegal. What people don’t realise is that the more this practice happens, the less diverse and inclusive an industry becomes – a characteristic that is vital for a successful creative industry.”

Any business can sign the standards here. Signatories will be publicly listed.


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