Living Wage Week: The Life of a Freshwater Intern

With Living Wage Week 2019 just around the corner, we wanted to mark the occasion by introducing you to some of the newest faces here at Freshwater.

Freshwater is a Living Wage Employer and we’re proud to be able to say we were among the founding signatories of the PRCA’s campaign to end the practice of unpaid internships. Each and every intern who begins their career in communications at Freshwater does so with a real living wage. But our internships offer far more than that – they offer real opportunities for growth and development too.

About Our Communications and Public Relations Internships

After winning the PRCA Best Internship Programme Award at the PR Internships Awards in 2018, and being invited back to judge the awards this year, we’re confident that our communications and PR internships equip individuals with the professional work experience and skills they need to embark on their career with conviction. We’re dedicated to providing well-managed, high-quality internships that benefit both us as an employer, and our interns.

We have committed to recruiting interns annually and factor this into our resourcing and budgeting plan. All interns are paid above the Living Wage and join us for 12 months. Each intern receives clear job descriptions detailing the roles, responsibilities and skills, knowledge and experience required of the job they are employed to do.

We’re proud that every intern benefits from having probation objectives set and their learning and development opportunities identified, as part of our commitment to Continuing Professional Development. As with all of our employees, interns receive the opportunity to join the CIPR or the PRCA following completion of their probation, all paid for by Freshwater.

Meet Our Interns

Cian Fox and Jemima Gosmore joined us in the summer of 2019, fresh out of university, to embark on one of Freshwater’s communications and public relations internships.

Cian graduated with a degree in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds and Jemima graduated from Cambridge University after studying English.

Since joining the team, both Cian and Jemima have proved to be invaluable assets, taking on a variety of tasks and working on an array of client projects.

Cian and Jemima talk us through their experiences as Freshwater interns so far.

Cian Fox’s Experience as a Freshwater Intern

Starting a new job, let alone your first role after finishing university, can be a daunting experience. What do I wear? What are my new colleagues like? What exactly will I be doing day-to-day? These questions, and all the fears that come with starting a new job, were quickly allayed on my first day at Freshwater – and I haven’t looked back since.

This is no accident. A thorough induction, including a trip to the head office in Cardiff, helped me quickly settle in and meet all of my new colleagues; a phone call from our chief executive during my first few days was an early indicator of Freshwater’s collaborative structure.
As part of my induction, I have also been set probation objectives, with a comprehensive brief of my tasks and deadlines. This will allow me to keep abreast of my combined and individual responsibilities at all times.

Approaching six weeks here is hard to believe – it has flown by. In that time, I have been given real responsibility, from writing an article for the Freshwater website and representing the company at events, to helping draft the daily transport and infrastructure briefing, read by industry specialists every day. Another – more delicious – responsibility was as judge of our Macmillan Coffee Morning in September.

There is no typical week in a dynamic communications agency like Freshwater. For example, in the past few weeks, I have accompanied one of our directors to Parliament on behalf of a client, travelled to our Cardiff office for internal training sessions and attended a business networking event centred around the Rugby World Cup. Alongside these exciting opportunities, I have consistently contributed to important and varied client work, developing my skills across PR, social media and public affairs.

As an intern, I have felt like a valued member of the team from day one. I have learnt so much already and I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time out of their busy schedules to help me to hit the ground running – I am excited to see what’s next!

Jemima Gosmore’s Experience as a Freshwater Intern

Leaving the comfort of the education system can be unsettling. When I was preparing to graduate university, despite the excitement of beginning a new chapter, I was filled with the inevitable panic which creeps up on final-year students: what next? After trawling multiple job sites, I saw an exciting intern role advertised at Freshwater. At first, I was sceptical: an internship in communications is, I initially believed, likely to be poorly paid – if paid at all.

You can imagine then, that I was refreshingly surprised – and relieved – to realise that Freshwater would be paying the London Living Wage. As someone hailing from further north in the country, making the move to London post-graduation would prove expensive enough; there was no way I could live without a wage. I quickly understood Freshwater was presenting a rare opportunity, and one I needed to grasp.

Thankfully, a few weeks later I found myself arriving at the London office, where I was met by a warm team, offering welcomes and cups of tea aplenty. I then received a full induction. In previous placements, I had often felt lost in a sea of faces on my first day, and unsure of my place in the firm, but Freshwater’s approach is completely different. From overviews of the company’s history, to explanations for the printer, absolutely everything you could need to know is covered. I even got to visit the Cardiff office in my first week, so now everyone in the company is a friendly face.

Despite being at Freshwater now for little over a month, the amount I have learnt in such a small window has been remarkable. In addition to the general administrative roles – I think I have finally mastered the functionality of the phones – I have been given multiple tasks, such as compiling a daily monitoring report, which is sent to an extensive list of industry experts. I’ve also been given the opportunity to work on exciting PR projects, where I have drafted press releases, and liaised with clients and journalists.

I am so grateful to be an intern at Freshwater: from the daily support in the office, to the range of challenging tasks, I am excited to grow in a company which has given me the opportunity to begin a career in communications, all without breaking the bank.

If you’re interested to learn more about us as a Living Wage Employer or about our PR internships or career opportunities, take a look at our Careers page.