Publishers have a social responsibility and their first social responsibility needs to be towards their employees and their interns.
Why does a person intern? To get experience that will lead ultimately to permanent employment. Very often at the end of an internship, the intern frequently finds themselves unemployed until another placement or a job comes along.*
Why then do publishers prevent interns from getting a job? All too frequently we hear of publishers telling interns they can’t have time off to attend a job interview, and this week, we hear of interns being prevented from attending the biggest event in the UK publishing calendar – the London Book Fair (LBF).
On the last day of the London Book Fair we are hosting a Careers Clinic, supported by the Publishers Association. We’ve organised a room full of human resource departments from publishers and industry recruiters – perfect for any job hunter. Yet we are getting emails from interns saying they can’t attend because they are interning back at the office, covering the phones or stuck on the company stand at LBF.
There is probably one afternoon in the whole year when no one – authors, retailers or customers – will begrudge the phones not being answered. Answer-phones and call divert were invented for a reason, why not use them?
So please publishers, demonstrate social responsibility to your interns by giving them time off to come to the bookcareers.com Clinic. If you can’t supply them with a free LBF ticket, we still have a few left. You could be an exceptionally responsible publisher by covering their train fare too, particularly if you are outside London.
*If you really want to help your intern into employment, sponsor their place on this course.