TOWIE stars under fire over social media internship paying £20 a day

TOWIE stars under fire over social media internship paying £20 a dayTHEIR PR FIRM ALSO REPRESENTS PETER ANDRE, RACHEL HUNTER AND MICHELLE MONE 

* GRADUATE FOG EXCLUSIVE *

A well-known celebrity PR agency has advertised a three-month social media internship paying just £20 a day.

Current clients of The CAN Group include TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex) stars Gemma Collins, Amy Childs and Elliott Wright, Peter Andre, Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh, model (and Rod Stewart’s ex-wife) Rachel Hunter and Ultimo underwear founder Michelle Mone.

The intern’s duties include “tweeting across set times of the day and evening”, “monitoring and responding to twitter interaction”, “scheduling tweets for the weekend and mornings using Hootsuite” and “tracking social media trends & using this to make sure our accounts stay relevant”.

Yet, despite their clients’ wealth and success, it seems the PR agency isn’t offering a proper wage to the intern who promotes their fashion lines and other projects across social media. The advert states, “You will be paid £20 per day and references will be given after successful completion of the placement, you will also be entitled to a 30% staff discount off a number of our websites.” See for yourself:

CAN social media internship

Graduate Fog has contacted the founder of The CAN Group (sometimes known as CAN Associates) Claire Powell (formerly Katie Price’s PR) to ask how the agency feels this role fits with the minimum wage law, and why they are confident it need not be paid. We will let you know when we hear back.

Observant readers will have noted that the deadline for the role was in September 2014 – so we have also asked CAN to clarify whether the position has been filled, or whether CAN is still accepting applications.

It is also unclear whether there is scope for this internship to turn into a paid, permanent role or whether it is a so-called ‘revolving door’ internship, where one unpaid intern is simply replaced by another at the end of their placement. The testimonials from three former interns certainly suggest that many find that their internship does not lead to more stable, paid work in future:

Elsa Noad

Josie Griffiths

Katie Riley

It is clear from the testimonials that internships at CAN are a lot of fun, and that those who do them gain a great deal from them. However, it is important to remember that the vast majority of young people can’t afford to work for three months without a proper salary.

It is fair that internships like these are only open to those whose parents are wealthy enough to support them?

While we wait to hear back from The CAN Group, Graduate Fog has a message for the firm’s clients… We know you can afford to make sure that the young people who promote you on social media are paid a fair wage for their work. Dig deep, speak to Claire Powell and make sure she does the right thing. It is not right to take advantage of young people who are so desperate for experience they will work for free. Thank you.

*SHOULD THIS INTERNSHIP PAY A PROPER WAGE?
The interns who have worked at CAN have clearly enjoyed their time there – should they be allowed to work for free if they want to? Or should CAN ensure that all their internships are open to everyone, regardless of their family’s ability to support them? Have your say below…

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