The British Film Institute (BFI): Stop using unpaid interns and help give young people like me a fair chance.
The BFI is a public body which is exploiting young people and excluding those who cannot afford to work for free.
I am looking for a job in film and media and like so many others I am simply not in a position to afford to work for 3 months without pay, particularly so in London and its cost of living. I am hard working and good at what I do. I could help be an asset to the BFI, but they refuse to pay people like me for our contribution.
As a taxpayer funded body, the BFI has a moral and legal responsibility to conduct its affairs within the law and not to discriminate against people from low income backgrounds.
Their decision to use unpaid interns runs directly contrary to government instructions on fair payment. http://www.ion.icaew.com/ClientFiles/a42b9c80-6acd-4dca-980a-bac45d9a324d/Interns%20booklet%206.pdf
Furthermore, what is particularly galling is their poor reaction to numerous complaints via social media and email. The BFI's regurgitated answer on twitter was insulting. I am yet to receive a response to my email.
The BFI works closely with Creative Skillset implementing policies particularly to do with training and employment. The Creative Skillset Guidelines clearly state that interns should be paid NMW wage if the placement is over 4 weeks in duration. http://www.creativeskillset.org/companies/your_staff/placements/article_7670_1.asp This is clear hyporcisy. What is the point of such guidelines if one of the most important organisations within the industry ignores them?
The BFI receives millions of pounds of taxpayer money each year. So please join me in expressing your disappointment in their refusal to treat interns fairly.
- Chief Executive of the The British Film Institute (BFI)
- Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Maria Miller MP
The BFI's decision to use unpaid interns is exploitative and excludes people who cannot afford to work for free. By advertising for so many unpaid interns they break the Skillset Creative Industry guidelines for pay, as well as the Government's minimum standards, as set out in the 'Common Best Practice Code for High Quality Internships'.
The BFI receives millions of pounds worth of taxpayer funding each year. If it believes in the potential of British film makers to succeed and produce inspiring content, it should not exclude talented young people on the basis of financial background.
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