Posted by Ollie ● 25 April 2019

Interview with Lord Holmes: The Injustice of Unpaid Internships

Oliver Sidwell, co-founder of RMP Enterprise and co-host of The Early Careers Podcast discusses his recent encounter with Lord Holmes.

In January, I shared my perspectives in a blog on The Ugly Truth Behind Unpaid Internships and quoted Lord Holmes of Richmond within this, citing his private members bill to ensure internships over one month are paid minimum wage.

After sharing this article and our support for his suggested legislation, Jack from AllAboutGroup and I were invited to Parliament to interview Lord Holmes of Richmond through our latest collaboration, The Jack & Ollie Show | The Early Careers Podcast.

During the first series of The Early Careers Podcast, Jack and I had a grand old time interviewing various figures within the early talent space. An interview with Lord Homes, we thought, was the perfect end to the series. 

This was an opportunity both Jack and I couldn't refuse, so off we popped to Parliament to interview a Lord. 


Who is Lord Holmes?

Before we jump into the highlights of our conversation with Lord Holmes, here's a quick overview of his background, and his involvement in the question of unpaid internships...

Lord Holmes is Great Britain’s most decorated Paralympic swimmer, winning nine golds, five silvers and one bronze in a four-Paralympic games career spanning 1988 to 2000, an achievement he amicably played down, by apologising to everyone for the bronze.

After retiring from swimming he worked as a journalist, then a solicitor and was Director of Paralympic Integration for the London Olympics. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 2013 and has been attempting to end the injustice of unpaid internships.

LH: “There are still not a few, not hundreds, but tens of thousands of people, at one of the most difficult times in their career - at the beginning - being asked to give of themselves, of their labour for no return… it sounds like something from prehistory, never mind 21st Century Britain”

The high vulnerability of interns being taken advantage of by their ‘employers’ not meeting national minimum wage is something he described very passionately and emotively as, a stain on our society.


LH: “If everybody binds together and has this right attitudinal approach and it becomes socially and morally unacceptable to take unpaid internships as well as offer them, we can really start to kill them off.

“This is such a time to be alive, but it’s such a time to absolutely put an end to people being forced to give of their labour for no remuneration”

Jack and I knew that Lord Holmes was putting forth legislation to ban unpaid internships, but even so, listening to him talk about the subject with such passion was truly inspiring. 

LH: “We have the opportunity to crack this. It’s been a pernicious problem which has blighted our society for decades. It’s within our grip to absolutely eradicate... To put an end of unpaid internships and condemn them to the dustbin of history.”

Amen to that. 

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It was a privilege to meet Lord Holmes and we fully support his mission; listen to the whole interview via the link here or via any of your major podcast platforms.

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Topics: RMP News, Undergraduate