One Club calls on industry to sign paid internship pledge

(One Club wants agencies to pay Interns)

The One Club for Creativity has advanced its commitment to creative activism by urging agencies, brands, ad schools and other organizations around the world to step up and help support workplace equity in the industry by signing its new Paid Internship Pledge.

The initiative launches with a number of founding signees already on board: CartwrightCOLLINSThe CommunityDesign ArmyEdelman, FCB WorldwideGoodby Silverstein & Partners, The Martin AgencySchool of Visual ArtsR/GASid LeeWieden+Kennedy, as well as The One Club itself.

Internships are a vital part of building a career in advertising and design, enabling aspiring creatives to get a foot in the door at agencies, studios and brands, and receive invaluable guidance, training and feedback from professionals.  

“Agencies, brands and other industry organizations are in a unique position to help level the career playing field for thousands of young people looking to break into the industry.”

Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, One Club 


They also provide a flavor of real-world work expectations and cultures, mark the beginning of professional networking, and give recipients a concrete credential that makes them stand out during job interviews.

Too often, however, internships are unpaid and not a realistic option for students and other young creatives from disadvantaged backgrounds who need an income to help pay for college or life expenses.  The resulting experience gap is often impossible to overcome.

“We call on them to sign the pledge to only offer paid internships, and support our drive to provide more equitable opportunities for economically disadvantaged and diverse candidates,” added Swanepoel.

The initiative was strongly supported by the organization’s Board of Directors, who played an integral, hands-on role in crafting the pledge.

For its part, The One Club  itself will continue to provide only paid internships at a reasonable minimum wage level — currently $15 per hour in the US — and asks all of its agency partners to pledge to do the same.

The full One Club Paid Internship Pledge pledge is here.  Upon signing the form, agencies and brands can upload their logos to be displayed on the page on The One Club website, and provide a link to paid internships they currently offer.

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