Golin to offer free London accommodation to new interns

Golin has pledged to house new interns rent-free in London Zones One or Two for their first month, and offer an interest-free loan for a deposit and first month's rent in the capital.

The agency said its 'Golin B&B' scheme would help reduce the barrier of housing costs for those starting on the London career ladder.

The scheme will start with the intake of five interns in May. They will be offered a rent-free flatshare in Zone One or Two and a zero per cent loan for the first month's rent and deposit. This can be paid back in instalments, and over a timetable agreed based on personal circumstances, Golin said.

Golin said the interns, who will take a three-month paid placement at the firm, will also be offered a "B&B buddy" to offer tips for local services. In addition, the agency has promised to reimburse the travel costs of their interview if they are based outside London, and give advice on budget, lifestyle and commute requirements.

The launch comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan calls for employers to offer loans to staff that covers their rental deposit. The Fifty Thousand Homes campaign aims to help workers with London’s steep house prices. Last year, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell was among business leaders to warn of the effect of housing pressure on the industry.

Golin London MD Bibi Hilton told PRWeek: "Assuming [the scheme] goes well we would continue with the next intake; this isn't a one off. We’ll start recruitment in February for a May start - we will be specifically targeting non-Russell Group universities in areas where we currently under-index in candidates."

The agency has not revealed the level of investment in the scheme, but Hilton said "it's a significant investment for us, to commit to renting accommodation for our interns four times a year, plus the additional support we’re providing".

Hilton said: "If you want to move to London to start your career you need anywhere between £1,000-£2,000 in your pocket for a deposit and the first month’s rent. That’s a significant sum of money for anyone, but if you don’t have family support or know anyone to stay with, then it is likely to prevent you being able to take up internship or a starter position.

"That’s a problem for us. We want to hire the best creative brains in the UK and we don’t want brilliant people turning down an internship with us or being put off applying in the first place due to the cost of living. We have always paid our interns and pay the London Living Wage, but as London living costs soar it’s no longer enough and we want to ensure we don’t miss out on great talent from the far-flung corners of the UK."

Last summer Golin won the top prize for Best Internship Programme at the PR Internships Awards, organised by the PRCA and PRWeek.

Last year Golin announced that all its London employees would receive benefits including unlimited holiday, flexible working, enhanced paternity pay and maternity leave 'ease in and out', as part of the agency's new Life Time programme, which it says should help increase diversity and tackle PR's gender pay gap. The firm is the UK's 17th largest PR agency, according to the PRWeek UK Top 150.

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