Design internships: opportunity or exploitation

Design Internships: opportunity or exploitation

In my work with design agency owners I'm often asked for advice on employing interns. This got me talking to a lot of colleagues. I found there are a myriad of reasons and motivations behind agencies taking on interns.

The more altruistic owners do it because they want to help young designers get a start. They readily acknowledge that it’s time consuming and expensive for the business. Many two or three person studios tell me the added cost and time are the reasons they can’t take on an intern.

At the other end of the scale I see agencies taking on an intern as a form of cheap labour.

Are interns exploited...

An UNseminar to look at Design internships

Lawyers do articles, tradies an apprenticeship and journalists a cadetship. Yet designers are meant to graduate 'job ready'.

Problem is they're not. Far from it. We're working with design studios that could take on a graduate, but baulk at the wage when it will take months to see any return on investment.

Harsh but true.

On the other side, we all remember being a graduate and the sheer frustration of trying to crack the industry shell with no prior experience.

That's why we think now is the right time to introduce a design cadetship.

An organised, registered process designed to bridge the gap between learning and doing. A win:win situation offering a mix of participation and mentoring for a fixed term at a reduced wage.

Come to our next UNseminar (where views from the audience are as important as the speakers) to explore the possibilities. We'll have studios that do it well, and studios that tried but failed. And we'll have speakers that know stuff.

It's on February 27 in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Count me in...

Business of design breakfasts...

Our breakfasts for designers are over-subscribed, so we're adding more in 2019.

We're adding another Business of Design breakfast, sharing tools and strategies to manage a creative business.

I have been attending Carol and Greg’s monthly breakfast club for two years. They are tremendously informative, inspiring and welcoming. Whether you are from a large design studio or sole operator, everyone’s input is valued.

The sessions are very informal and relaxed, with plenty of opportunity for everyone to contribute to the discussion. Carol and Greg’s expertise in design business and management is outstanding, between them they have got the whole field covered. Offering invaluable insights into their approach across all areas of design. I always leave with a new nugget of practical information that I can easily apply to my business.

Adele Del Signore

Tell me more...