Excuse my ignorance, but I have only recently found out that unpaid internships are illegal. So why is it still happening openly and without reprimand.
The answer, people are too scared to dob anyone in. Industry loves to make a profit. Easy to do when everyone wants to be a part of it. So why not get your next generation of graduates all vying for just a few positions to work for free and be grateful for it. There’s a never ending supply with thousands of wannabe designers leaving the safety of the university bubble every year.
Fashion, particularly higher up the scale in the big brands, considers itself elite enough to get away with these kinds of practices. People are bending over backwards to get their hands on a years worth of experience at a big name.
The thing is with this industry – if you aren’t prepared to do it for free, the next person in the queue is, so there’s almost no escaping it if you want to get on that first rung of the ladder. And there’s nothing like the fear of unemployment after 3 years of study to get graduates doing exactly what you want.
Four years ago HMRC was cracking down on unpaid internships. So why do so many still not realise it’s illegal. And why are so many free internships still openly available? More so, why are universities not educating their students about these practices and warning them against it. And why isn’t HMRC doing more to stamp it out?
Poverty and the arts have historically gone hand in hand. But the suggestion that you’re doing it for the love of your craft and that your personal enjoyment replaces the lack of income is, frankly, insulting.
It is true that there are lots of individuals collaborating on a ‘TF’ or trade basis. It’s pretty much what keeps the creative industries producing work. But it should not be happening in big companies making huge profits.
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