The Arts Council England has posted a fierce warning to employers attempting to use their jobs website to recruit unpaid interns.
The organisation has also reminded them: “If we don’t create fairer entry routes into the arts workforce we risk closing the door on a new generation of talented leaders from a range of backgrounds, and the arts will suffer.” The announcement – featured prominently on artsjobs.org.uk – reads:
We recognise that there is great value in people having access to proper work experience, where it is offered and arranged properly and is a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that this should never be used as a way of attempting to circumvent national minimum wage regulations. Please ensure that your posts are compliant with our terms and conditions. We reserve the right to remove any posts without further notice to you which, in our reasonable judgment, do not comply with the terms and conditions.
Internships in the arts
Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills have published these guidelines to help clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships.
Please note that we will not accept postings on Arts Jobs for unpaid internships unless they are part of a recognised further or higher education course.
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England, told Graduate Fog:
“The arts in England can only benefit from a wide range of ideas and voices in both artistic and leadership roles. If we don’t create fairer entry routes into the arts workforce we risk closing the door on a new generation of talented leaders from a range of backgrounds, and the arts will suffer.
“That’s why the Arts Council published Internships in the Arts last year, which we hope will help arts organisations offer high quality, paid internship opportunities that don’t put them at risk of legal action. These guidelines reflect the law, rather than create new rules or regulations, and while the Arts Council has no legal authority to find an employer in breach of the law we would encourage all arts organisations to take note of their responsibilities.
“We are working hard to ensure that employment opportunities in the arts are open to all and to build a diverse, highly skilled arts workforce which is why we have also established the Creative Employment Programme.”
Graduate Fog is pleased to see the Arts Council England taking a tough approach to those who wish to advertise illegal, unethical internships for young people – as our users tell us the sector is one of the worst offenders when it comes to exploitation of keen young graduates. The Arts Council’s statement follows recent announcements from Monster and Total Jobs who have both agreed to remove adverts for positions which appear to break the minimum wage law.
*TRYING TO GET INTO THE ARTS?
How is it going? What challenge are you facing? Is it difficult to get anything other than unpaid internships? How many unpaid internships have you done – or are you refusing to work for free, and only applying to paid roles?