TWO-WEEK ‘GRUNT WORK’ ROLE COULD LEAD TO PAID WORK, SAYS OWNER
A controversial, two-week internship at Heat magazine will go ahead as an unpaid position, a spokesperson has announced, despite outcry from young people who feel the role is just ‘grunt work’ that the magazine needs doing, and as such should be paid.
Graduate Fog highlighted the role last week, which was advertised on Go Think Big, the youth jobs website run by O2 and Bauer Media (which owns Heat).
Despite listing numerous duties essential to the day-to-day running of the fashion department – including unpacking and returning clothing samples, and researching pricing information – the role was listed as unpaid ‘work experience’ (although up to £10 a day could be claimed in expenses).
As it involves real work (as opposed to just shadowing), we questioned whether it was in fact more like a very short-term internship, and as such should be paid.
But it seems Heat is digging its heels in – and insisting that the role’s classification as ‘work experience’ is correct, and as such it needn’t be paid. Following our original blog post, plus press coverage by the BBC and the Guardian, a spokesperson for Bauer Media contacted Graduate Fog to provide the following statement:
“Bauer Media has a number of initiatives including fully-funded courses from the Bauer Academy, paid graduate trainee schemes and the heat Gavin Reeve Daniels Memorial Scholarship, which aim to nurture the next generation of media talent. Work placements – in this instance two weeks with daily expenses – can lead to full-time, paid positions within our business and people go on achieve great success in their careers”.
Graduate Fog then replied with three further questions, which the spokesperson answered as follows:
1) Is this work experience placement is still going ahead as an unpaid position?
Yes – this placement is a two week work experience opportunity with expenses paid. Opportunities over 2 weeks are paid at a rate of above the national living wage and we review our opportunity postings on an ongoing basis. Bauer and heat offers work experience in a fair and accessible way, which means young people from all backgrounds can apply, and that it is not just limited to those who know someone who works at Bauer. We feel this is especially important given how competitive the media industry is.
2) Does Bauer have anything to say response to those who view this position is exploitative, and that Heat is using its brand to secure free ‘grunt work’ labour from young people so desperate to gain experience that they will agree to work for the magazine free?
Bauer Media has a number of initiatives including fully-funded courses from the Bauer Academy, paid graduate trainee schemes and the heat Gavin Reeve Daniels Memorial Scholarship, which aim to nurture the next generation of media talent. Work placements – in this instance two weeks with daily expenses – can lead to full-time, paid positions within our business and people go on achieve great success in their careers.
3) How does Bauer understand that this position fits with the National Minimum Wage law?
This is a work experience opportunity and not full time work. It’s for two weeks and is the opportunity for someone to gain some short-term ‘shadow and learn’ experience which may help an individual to build the skills and experience to gain full-time paid employment. We run fully-funded courses across the UK through the Bauer Academy to ensure people are not blocked from careers in the media by location or lack of funds and our Intern opportunities pay above the national living wage.
Whilst Bauer has clearly made an effort to widen access to paid roles at the company, Graduate Fog feels this does not give them the right to help themselves to unpaid labour for short-term roles involving numerous essential tasks and duties, by packaging this as ‘work experience.’ If this is a shadowing role, why were so many tasks listed in the original advert?
* IS THIS WORK EXPERIENCE – OR A SHORT INTERNSHIP THAT SHOULD BE PAID?
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