Living Wage Week 2020: What the Living Wage Means to Me

Freshwater has long championed the Living Wage, and is a proud supporter of the Living Wage Foundation. Our internship programme seeks to provide opportunities for young, talented professionals while ensuring that they can financially support themselves during the early stages of their career. Below, two of our team members – and former interns – offer insights into their experiences as new starters at Freshwater, as well as the direct, positive impact that our commitment to the Living Wage had on them.

Jemima Gosmore, Account Assistant

It has been a little over 12 months since I arrived at Freshwater’s Farringdon office ready for my first day as an intern. And it has in fact been 12 months exactly since I wrote a piece outlining what my first six weeks as a fresh-faced intern had been like – the client work, the opportunities and Living Wage Week.

Now, delighted to be a permanent part of the Freshwater cohort, I can perhaps reflect better upon just what an enabler the Living Wage has been. Mainly,  it has allowed me to move straight from a university degree – where books alone had been the focus – into a workplace buzzing with smiling, supportive colleagues, all armed with limitless advice and training guides galore. My year at Freshwater has been all about learning (and  a fair dash of mastering the art of quick thinking). Highlights include a spontaneous client photoshoot on an incredibly windy Millennium Bridge for which I had not worn nearly enough thick clothing, an afternoon of media sell-ins with comedian, Rhod Gilbert, stood directly behind my desk, and finally, a hectic taxi journey with me, a Northerner living in London, attempting to direct a Welsh driver to the Cardiff office.

Without a Living Wage, I would not have been able to enjoy any of these experiences. I would not have been able to grow my skills, see the day-to-day running of a communications agency, or meet Freshwater’s range of talented and inspiring people. Low or, as is often the case, unpaid work experience was not a viable option in my situation – particularly living in London. And so, for me, Living Wage has fundamentally been about equal opportunity – enabling someone to experience a sector they are keen to work in, without financial anxieties.

I feel thankful that I got such a good start in the early stages of my career but I’m also pleased knowing that, in Freshwater, I am no anomaly. Every member of staff, every intern, is paid a Living Wage. As an applicant, it was both refreshing and a relief to hear – as an employee it has been affirmative that an exciting, entry-level job can and ought to be accompanied with a decent, liveable wage.


Jacob Alberga, Delegate Sales Executive

Prior to joining Freshwater, and having recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University, last year I began an internship at a digital marketing agency. I was paid a minimal salary, which made life challenging, but as I was fortunate to still be living at home, I managed to get by.

In January 2020, I joined Freshwater as a Sales and Marketing Intern. My immediate impression was that I was working for a caring team who recognised my individual contribution by paying me the Real Living Wage. Freshwater financially invested in me and supported me in developing my early career skills, and this has motivated me to work hard in the sales and marketing of our conferences.

At this challenging time for graduates seeking their first jobs, I feel grateful to have been made a permanent employee at a company that values its team and is recognised as a Living Wage employer.

I hope that, in future, universities encourage graduates to seek out employers that are part of The Living Wage Foundation.


About the Living Wage

Living Wage Week 2020, which takes place 9 – 15 November, is going digital with all events being hosted online.

The Living Wage rates for 2020/21 were announced on Monday 9 November, with the UK rate now set at £9.50 per hour, and the London Living Wage at £10.85 per hour.

We continue to be a Living Wage Employer and were among the founding signatories of the PRCA’s campaign to end the practice of unpaid internships.

To learn more about careers at Freshwater, and to view our available internships and vacancies, visit our careers page.