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Image magazine comes in for harsh criticism for unpaid PA internship

Duties include being the PA to the managing director, as well as front of house for clients.

Image used by Image Magazine in a tweet to advertise the internship.
Image used by Image Magazine in a tweet to advertise the internship.

IMAGE MAGAZINE HAS been criticised on social media today for advertising a full-time unpaid internship with the company.

People have taken to Twitter complaining about the job specifications of the internship, which lists duties as: PA to the Managing Director, Office Management, ‘Front of House’ Client Service and IT, Phones and Technology Liaison.

However, the Editor-in-Chief of Image Publications said it is envisaged that the internship will lead to full-time employment due to the organisation’s expansion in recent years.

Here is the tweet sent out by Image Magazine:

Some of the duties under each role include:

Planning travel itineraries, booking accommodation, taxis, etc.
General admin including filing and occasional letter writing
Managing phone messages and passing them onto the correct contact
You are responsible for knowing the whereabouts of all staff at all times during working hours
You should look to instigate cost saving throughout office, from lighting, heating, telephone, etc.
Health and safety is the responsibility of the Office Manager
Organising a general clean up once a month (and ensure all staff members tidy their respective areas)
Positioned at the reception desk means you will be responsible for meeting and greeting all visitors, clients, suppliers, colleagues, etc

You can view the internship advert here.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Melanie Morris, Editor-in-Chief of Image Publications, said that she had been speaking to some of the people who had tweeted and took issue with the internship and explained that Image Publications is “not in the business of slave labour”.

Employment 

In the past, the company has hired many interns in the creative department, she explained, stating that usually interns do end up in employment with the magazine.

“We were looking to do the same thing here,” said Morris.

She said that the position is also being advertised on JobBridge. If someone is hired for the position through JobBridge then they will receive an additional €50 per week on top of their social welfare payment.

She admitted that the advertisement had not been shown to senior management before being put out in the public domain, adding “there are probably some things we would change” in the job specification.

Morris added that what should have been specified in the advert is that they are looking to employ someone at the end of the internship.

Commercial department 

She said certain specifications were included in the advert so that applicants would be clear that this is an internship in the commercial side of the business and so they were clear that they would “not end up working on fashion shoots”.

The role is an administrative one, explained Morris, but reiterated that they had successfully employed people in the creative department through this process.

“When the recession hit, we had a line of PAs and junior staff, and unfortunately we had to make some redundant, we did without.”

She added that over the last number of years, the business has begun to expand again and the company saw this as “a beginning” to start to put those lines back in to the organisation, through further employment.

Good year 

According to Image Publications’ 2013 accounts, which were filed in August, the company had a good year with a 19% increase in turnover, the launch of a new wedding title and a “rapid expansion” of its internet presence.

The report said it had also enjoyed “an increase in key staff, particularly in the revenue-generating areas and a move to new, state-of-the-art offices”.

“The shareholders believe that the company is now in an optimum position to benefit from the efficiencies it has introduced to capture and harness the turnaround in the market generally, and to maximise its growth potential in the coming years,” it said.

Additional reporting Peter Bodkin

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