The advice comes as part of the CIPR's 'Internship and Work Placement' toolkit, launched today, which aims to give best practice guidance on the legal and practical requirements of running an internship or work placement.
The advice calls on members to 'pay participants National Minimum Wage or above (such as travel or lunch expenses). PR is a popular and therefore highly competitive career for graduates, but this does not mean that employers should take advantage’.
However, the toolkit also points out the following exemptions of the legislation:
• Students who are studying on higher education courses at UK universities or colleges if placed with an employer as part of their course. This exemption may be applied for a maximum period of one year.
• Students doing voluntary work for a registered charity and those doing work shadowing.
The CIPR also gives recommendations for companies that have no budget to pay interns and students, stating: ‘If there is no budget to pay a participant then the CIPR strongly recommends that applicants are sourced through universities or colleges where placements are a compulsory part of a course.’
Avril Lee, CEO of Ketchum Pleon and member of the CIPR’s Diversity Working Group, said of the toolkit: ‘I’ve always found that providing interns with the opportunity to gain an understanding of what it is to work in PR is an invaluable experience for both ourselves and the intern.’
The guidance makes a number of other recommendations that include the provision of excellence in learning and development for those considering a career in PR and that internships or work placements should be open to the widest pool of talent available.