Many agencies and client-side “comms” departments often advertise for “an intern” to come and work for them. In the old days, when money was freely available to students for grants and there were no fees to pay, internships were pieces of voluntary work that students would do to get experience in their spare time – because students also used to have lots of spare time.
This experience was valuable stuff. And many firms thrived on this steady source of free talent.
Times have changed. Fees exist, grants do not, and the majority of students do not come from backgrounds where their parents are able to support them. As a result, students use their spare time to work in order to keep money coming in to pay those bills. It’s a fact of modern student life. Students on the whole can’t afford to work for free any more, whilst a number of firms simply can’t afford to pay them a living wage.
The law around minimum wages also forbids anyone from working for “nothing” or even expenses. A number of high profile court cases within the marcomms, digital and creative sector have seen firms fined for not paying a living wage. HMRC have made it clear that they will pursue targets from the biggest names downwards to prevent companies avoiding paying that minimum wage. Irrespective of your philosophy about this, the reality is all too apparent.
The legislation provides clear instructions about where the exemptions lie, and this is where Agency Life comes in. Agency Life is part of a specific educational programme that allows students as part of their degree to experience working life in either an agency or a client-side department. As such firms can safely engage with the positive provision of work experience to students over a long period of time without worrying about the danger of HMRC knocking on the door. Students can engage in real work because it’s part of their studies, and so they will get that experience that employers increasingly ask for in job descriptions. And there’s a whole team of industry-experienced University staff to support you and the students throughout their time with you.
So – avoid the Tax Man and sign up for our programme. You can read the Elevator Pitch for a quick insight into the work, download our The 2016 Guide for Prospective Employers and sign up for one of information events to find out more about your individual opportunities. Do it today and make a difference to your current business, the future prospects of students in Manchester and the quality of your future talent in a few years time.