The CIoJ were among guests at the official launch of the Common Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships with Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, on 18 July in London.
General Secretary Dominic Cooper and Immediate Past President Liz Justice joined as working members on the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum group in 2010 after CIoJ members raised concerns about the misuse of interns on newspapers and magazines at its Annual Conference.
Working in collaboration with other professional bodies, the best practice Code has been endorsed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in recognition of the role of internships in improving access to a professional career – including journalism – by talented people who could not access high quality University courses.
Liz said: “Access and meritocracy remain vital stepping stones for all young people looking for a job and even more so when recruitment departments concentrate on graduates from elite Universities. This Code makes it clear that interns are not a cheap way of getting people in to do the work without pay. If followed the Code turns barriers into positive opportunities for a win win situation without exploitation to the candidate or the company.”
As well as getting the backing of the Government the Code gained support from the TUC, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the Social Mobility Foundation and the PRCA Commission on Access.
Dominic added: “It was reassuring that the Minister said the rules relating to the Minimum Wage and access to University using company sponsorship are two further ways the Government were looking to take this forward. Because the Code was drawn up by professional bodies like ours, it allows a clear guide which if followed works for all parties. There is more work that needs doing but as a first step we can endorse and support our members using the Code if they are considering using interns.”