Most recently, this is us talking to fantastic charity Worldwrite (where people aged 16-25 volunteer and learn how to make films) about IA and having a bit of a debate about solutions to youth unemployment- we’d be interested to hear your opinions to:

Behold! Interns Anoymous and Judgement Productions present a short but sweet documentary on internships.

In a series of interviews, interns talk about their highs and lows, how they afford to work for free, the ways in which internships restrict social mobility and alternative systems to those that operate in the UK.

16 Responses to “Documentary”

  1. 1 Matt H 04/03/2009 at 5:08 pm

    I’m glad to see this website. I graduated last year, and I cannot believe that it is expected, demanded even, that I work unpaid before getting a ‘proper’ job. I’m not a naive graduate who expected to walk into any job, but I equally did not expect my degree to appear so worthless to employers. It’s common sense that you get what you pay for in life, and when employers won’t pay (yet expect people to work full time jobs) they have to expect half-arsed staff putting in the minimum. Treat me fairly (ie. pay me a wage, doesn’t have to be great, I’m not greedy) and the effort I put in will be reciprocal.

    Unfortunately all this is the result of too many graduates chasing too few jobs. A badly managed education policy of successive governments. Keen to push kids off to university with no long term plan for us afterwards. Employers know this and exploit the situation.

  2. 2 Mark 07/02/2009 at 1:46 pm

    Seems like a good idea – can you tell me more about the doc though?

    • 3 internsanonymous 07/21/2009 at 6:31 pm

      It is going to be a short campaigning film, we will use it to get press interest, spread the word, inspire comment, create a buzz…and will then look to develop a longer more detailed piece pending funds

  3. 4 Chris 02/28/2010 at 5:28 am

    They’re all whingers.

  4. 5 Susannah Spring 03/04/2010 at 1:16 pm


    Is this the website set up by Alex Try? I read about it in the Daily Mail’s article ‘The slave labour graduates’ and completely agree with the whole thing. I’m so glad the Daily Mail has highlighted how us graduates are being exploited!! it’s disgusting.
    I am looking for a job at the moment, but most of the positions I see are internships, asking for you to basically replace a member of staff off on holiday for free! or to to be the office skyvvy.
    The labour party is encouraging this exploitation because it keeps the unemployment numbers down. It’s completely hypercritical for the traditional worker’s party to approve of this abuse. They are fully aware that debt ridden graduates are being exploited, and tap businesses on the back for having internships instead of providing paid employment. I don’t understand why there is a minimum wage when employers are getting away with not paying a penny to full-time workers!! This country is a joke! Certainly the sick man of Europe.
    They paint a dream to A level students: “go Uni and get a degree, it’s the ticket to a high flying job”.
    What a lie! you are better off getting work experience because that is what employers want. The girls I went to school with, who got their A`levels and went straight into work, are the ones who are now in secure, well paid jobs. I have friends with Masters who are now doing internships, working for practically nothing.
    An internship is a foot in the door if it is seriously improving your skills and training you up for a job in the end.
    But these internships seem to have gone out the window and you certainly don’t expect employers to treat you like an idiot when you’ve achieved the best you can in education, written arm length essays with complex analyses and were taught by some of the UK’s most intellectual beings!
    I loved my degree course and meeting all my friends at uni. I didn’t expect to get a high flying job after graduating but I did expect to get a paid job!

  5. 6 Susannah 03/04/2010 at 1:52 pm

    sorry, wrote that in a hurry, ignore the mistakes.

  6. 7 marie 04/06/2010 at 1:41 pm

    Guys, I am interning at Inspiring Interns. They guys here are really helpful and they have tonnes of great internships- I get to see the ones about to get posted…
    The interns here work for 3 months, expenses paid, and 9/10 evolve into full-time paid jobs.
    No tea making. Just thrown in the deep end.
    It’s less competitive than applying for an graduate trainee scheme or for a paid job, say on Reed- because they usually require experience. Check us out if you like. Won’t bite. Promise ;-)

  7. 8 Emma 04/08/2010 at 3:57 pm

    Ah Marie, but it’s still working for three months, expenses only. Don’t you have rent to pay? How about food? Seeing your friends and generally having a life? How can you do any of that if you’re working 9-6 everyday for free.

    Sorry but that’s just not an option for many many people in this country and the fact that they’re expected to, for months at a time is disgusting.

    How do we put pressure on the government to really sit up and take notice of this widespread problem? It’s been happening for years and something needs to be done.

  8. 9 marie 04/09/2010 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Emma, I completely agree with you. I’ve been really lucky and supported by my parents but unfortunately with the stiff competition in the grad job market now, I see it as one of the only options open to me at the mo…
    I think lots of money is being pumped into paid university internships by the government but they are relatively few and far between. We’re trying to supply internships because there is a large demand there.

  9. 10 Tobi laniyan 04/24/2010 at 9:47 pm

    Its a shame that graduates in the UK have to go through this. I’ve been there before you need experience but you need to be paid for your rent, travel and time, help and etc it certainly helps if you have family or live in London like myself its a very grey area!

    Some employers are changing the way they take on interns doing paid interships but these are mainly the big players etc but it still few in number.

  10. 11 kev 07/08/2010 at 6:48 pm

    I gradauted in 2002 in film and video and have struggled since, mainly because ive always refused to work for free despite the media industry being one of the pioneers of exploiting graduates. This all stems back to when the government started their egalitarian policies and making everyone feel they can be a graduate and earn lots of money. But no one ever thought what would happen when you take something rare and make it common, it loses its value. This is typical left wing policies by sucessive governments and their desperation to be fair, but like most left wing policies, they mean well but end up as total disasters.

    Its up to graduates to say no and not perpetuate this culture because the employers are quite clearly exploited a jobs market flooded by graduates. I cant believe the government are still promoting univesity to people knowing full well in 3 years their oppotunities are non existant.

    As for me personally, i would of been better off going to a tv company at 16 and saying that ill make tea and mop the floors, because after graduating at 22, i was asked to do exactly the same thing.

    • 12 marty 09/18/2010 at 11:29 am


      Very well put. Especially the egalitarian part. I have just graduated summer this year with a first. it has benefited me going to Uni as an individual and made me a faster and more thorough designer (industrial). But as far as the paper of the degree is concerned I feel it will mean little compared to as once was perhaps 10 years ago. I was under the misunderstanding it would mean more, especially obtaining a good result, but how times have changed. By the way I am no spring chicken having gone to Uni at the tender age of 34 (37 now).

      It will be my work experience that may cut it and not the degree at all. This culture of exploitation is rife in this industry as well and needs to be stamped out fast or our economy will be based on unlawful and short-sighted foundations.

      ALL students and UNIS and teachers need to co-ordinate and act together and say enough is enough now. Can’t see it happening soon though. There is a lot of apathy and resignation about. My exit from UNI was – see you we’ve had yer money now, bye!!!

      Also the WORLD needs to create new employment opportunities for the many…that is another issue!

  11. 13 FORMER arts intern NYC 02/21/2011 at 7:24 pm

    I totally agree with the two last comments – graduates in the UK, US and france should bond together and simply refuse to work for free. this can only end when we refuse to do it.

  12. 14 Kristine Simpson 02/26/2011 at 11:58 pm

    I am in Canada and the situation for students are similar here. Internships in some cases, not all, are unpaid.

    I wouldn’t trade my experience I got working for my organization in a million years. It lead to a full time job. However, I did feel the financial burden of not getting paid.

    I don’t think we need to strike or go to those extreme measures, because organizations will just hire someone else. What we need to do is educated organizations and the government about how tough it is to work for free. Solutions can range from minimum wage to honorariums, to governments either supplying the organization with money to pay for the intern, or supplying the student with a grant/loan.

  13. 15 G 01/26/2012 at 11:35 pm

    I naively agreed to do my articles at a record company for a bulk sum of $2,000, never stopping to do the maths that it actually worked out to $3.33 an hour. When I invoiced the company, they couldn’t stop giggling that they managed to get this deal… while they lined the walls with work experience kids (generally for free), the lunacy of the exploitation became apparent to them.

    On another occasion, at another record company, I spent 19 hours hard labour, picking up and stacking heavy boxes, single-handedly doing the complete inventory of a record company. When I finally emerged from the basement after finishing the job (and injuring my back), the head lawyer shooed me away. When I insisted the job was done, he then requested that I reorganise all the boxes into alphabetical order. I refused, citing the unnecessary nature of the physical labour, my injury and desire to do legal work. In response, he said: “You can fuck off, or I can get someone else to do it.”

    His response sums up exactly how I feel about internships. I was lured by promises of articles, of full time jobs. I was duped by The Smiths’ You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby. I figured if I did enough (and I did it well), this would be recognised and I would be thanked, at least. I would be naive to believe that things would have been different had I returned to the basement that second time… but for all my goodwill and physical labour, it all meant nothing.

    To reflect his sentiments exactly, there is another chump there and ready to do it for nothing.

    This needs to be stopped.

  14. 16 H 11/13/2012 at 11:10 pm

    I worked as an intern as it was part of my graphic design degree. I didn’t mind it as it was during my degree but I knew I wasn’t going to get a job at the end of it. Whenever the company needed something done or were under pressure they would ring up another intern that was on file and use them for the necessary task. The owner was on to a winner as he was saving a fortune in wages and just before I left he bought himself a new house. I would never work for free again, it devalues me and what I do and I am giving myself the message I am not worth anything.

    The problem with so many people agreeing to work for free is that it merely stimulates a society of slave labour. Companies love the cult of the intern and its rise has become so endemic that only today I heard that a leading retail outlet was now using interns as sales staff and a friend of mine was made redundant from a paid job to make way for a free intern. Its all very well working for free when you live at home but if you want to leave home and stand on your own two feet a society of free labour will make it rather difficult.

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Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story.


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