Posts Tagged ‘Work experience

09
Feb
11

Unpaid interns issue rumbling the blue skies above PR

I have recently signed up to PRweek online (can’t pay for a subscription yet as a poor student) and I have seen some disturbing news on there. PR agencies hiring a bunch of interns and not paying them for their work.

This issue was raised after BBC 2 screened a documentary featuring a PR agency that had hired more than 20 unpaid interns. This is shocking, how can a PR agency be run by more than 20 unpaid students? This is not right at all.

The first time I had to deal with this issue was when I had to start looking for an internship here in the UK as part of my MA degree course. The work placement was only for 4 weeks and I thought this was really strange. I am only one of the two students on my course that have done a work placement(s) before, this shocked me. Why would students in the UK not have to do an internship? It is a good way of seeing and experiencing what working in the industry is like.

I also had an issue with the time frame of the work placement, 4 weeks. What can you really achieve in 4 weeks and what kind of scope of the industry does this really give you?

During my BA in The Netherlands I had to do 3 work placements, one of 10 weeks, 6 months and 8 months. Then you have enough time and opportunity to see different  fields of the industry you are interested in and get a good grip on the work that you would be expected to do later in life in your career.

This information is all relevant because a few students on my course were asked if they had any previous experience when going for interviews for work placement. They thought this was a really strange question to be asked because they are looking for experience. They didn’t get the placements where this question was raised because they don’t have previous experience.

Now I am wondering if this question was asked because if they did have experience it would be free work done by a student that knows what they are doing and that would hardly need any guidance. Free labour basically. When thinking about the free labour for 4 weeks then why was it still hard to find a placement?

I didn’t mind not being paid for 4/5 weeks but if I had to work for a longer period of time I would want to be paid. The funny thing is that whilst looking for a work placement and mentioning the 4 week time frame the topic of payment was never raised. Funny that companies would assume that they wouldn’t have to pay you just because you’re only going to be with them for 4 weeks.

Now, this issue of PR agencies hiring interns work long periods of time and not paying them is concerning, especially because the job market isn’t that good at the moment. It’s hard for graduates to find a job. Then it’s understandable that you would go for a job that offers you experience for a few months but doesn’t pay you.

As graduates we should be able to get a job at a PR agency and get paid for the work we do. It’s not as if the work we do is useless or irrelevant. We are very capable of producing up to standard work, we have imput that is new and fresh.

Shame on the companies that were hiring a bunch of interns and making them work for free but offering experience, that just sounds like exploitation to me. Funny that one of the companies mentioned in the BBC 2 documentary said that they weren’t the only ones doing this. Always try to shift the blame on others. It is wrong what you are doing so take responsibility and make it right. I don’t think they will be getting any interns for a while or new staff for that matter any time soon.

 The articles are all on PRweek this is the link to the ones I commented on:

http://www.prweek.com/news/1052694/Danny-Rogers-Unpaid-interns-industry-disservice/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

http://www.prweek.com/news/1053842/Call-PR-industry-stamp-practice-unpaid-interns/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

 Let me know what you think about this issue surrounding the PR industry and especially if you’re a graduate let me know what you think!

Advertisements
06
Feb
11

DMU events office debrief

My last extra week working for the De Montfort University events office was a really busy one. That is why I haven’t really finished yet.

I was supposed to have my work placement debrief this week but because of the busy week and all the events and meetings going on, there was no time.

Tomorrow, Monday, is going to be my final day. Will be finalising my work and handing over ongoing work. Also will be reporting on the status of the projects I have been working on.

For the debrief there are certain things that I am going to be asked that I haven’t really thought about before. This is because I wasn’t sure where my work placement was going to be until the last minute.

But here are some helpful guidelines for students before they start and when they finish their work placements:

– What did you expect from your placement?

– Did the placement fulfill these expectations?

– Are there any comments, could something have been better during your placement?

– Did you learn anything from the experience gained during your placement?

– Would you consider working in the field that you did your placement in?

I must have a good think about these questions before tomorrow and will let you know how it went.

Have you had a placement debrief before? Let me know!

04
Feb
11

Week 4, last week of work placement

Last week was supposed to be my last week of my work placement at the De Montfort Universities Events Office. But because I have really enjoyed myself and have loved working with my colleagues (I think I can call them that) in the events office, I decided to stay an extra week. Today was supposed to be my last day but they just can’t seem to get rid of me. I will be in the Events Office on Monday, to finalize any work I still have to do (don’t think there is any), to hand over my work that is still going on and to have my placement debrief.

My five weeks in the DMU Events Office have been great. I have done so much and have been included in so many ongoing events that I really have got a good view of how events are planned from scratch, how events work with the Press office and eventually seeing everything coming together.

I have worked and helped out at several events and even did evening work and an early mornings.

I have been in contact with The Leicester Comedy Festival, The Literary and Philosophical Society and several marquee companies. I have been phoning people to follow-up if they are coming to events, have been using new programs I never knew existed and have met some great people.

Organising events should be something I can be good at after this experience and writing press releases has become easier as well.

The overall experience has been really good and I am sad to leave the Events Office and the team. ut who knows I might be helping out at future events this year?!

10
Jan
11

DMU Events work placement

During my MA Public Relations course one of the requirements is to do a work placement in January. I found a placement and am now helping the De Montfort University Events team for four weeks.

I have done an internship before at a company that did some event organising but not to the extent that the Events team of DMU does, wow. The details that have been thought about and how well the events staff know the companies they work with is very impressive.

My first week was all about getting to know the staff, how they work, what each of the staff work on, reading up on all the upcoming events, how to work with certain programmes and of course had to go through the very thorough and important health and safety check (this was no doubt the highlight of my first week). There is a lot of admin work involved during this internship but I didn’t really expect anything else as it is only for four weeks.

The way of working, how all the time plans and event plans are put together and how detailed they are has really amazed me. If every event company had these plans and worked thinking as detailed as the DMU Events team does, I don’t think any event could ever go wrong.

There are some very interesting lectures coming up this year organised by the DMU Events team. I will be helping on two of them this January. Liz Kendall, Shadow Health Minister on January 20 and Xudong Zhao, Professor of Low Carbon Society on January 27 are the distinguished lecture and professorial lecture I will be helping on. I will put some more information about these lectures on my blog soon and will let you know how my second week was!




"You have smoke signals"

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers

Recent tweets

All the smoke signals