Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has thrown his weight behind a campaign being launched this week by PRWeek and the PRCA to end the practice of unpaid internships.
To launch the campaign, the PRCA will today take the step of placing a list on its website of all PRCA member agencies who commit to paying at least the National Minimum Wage to interns.
The list, researched in June, includes just 21 out of 264 member agencies - a mere one in 13. Among the handful of big agencies committed to paying up are Cohn & Wolfe and MHP Communications.
In an exclusive column for PRWeek, Clegg urges PR agencies to scrap unpaid internships.
'The fact is, workplaces across Britain desperately need to be opened up, and PR is no exception. Too often it's who you know - not what you know - that counts,' writes Clegg.
In the article, Clegg encourages 'every company across the PR industry' to sign up to his social mobility strategy 'business compact'.
The compact calls on businesses to commit to opening up internships to everyone, not just the well off.
PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham has urged his members to get on to the list of intern-paying agencies as soon as possible. 'The register of consultancies will be vital in helping prospective interns to make informed choices, and in driving up standards within the industry,' said Ingham.
In the New Year the PRCA, supported by PRWeek, will launch an accreditation scheme developed by Talk PR, that will give graduates recognition for their efforts during their internship, with the aim of increasing their employability in the future.
April The Government launches its social mobility strategy. Francis Ingham writes to Nick Clegg offering the PR industry's support
March The PRCA brings together industry professionals to thrash out guidelines to broaden access to the PR industry
February A BBC documentary highlights the use of unpaid interns by fashion agency Modus Publicity.