Furious football fans have slammed Birmingham City FC – after the club posted an ad seeking an unpaid media intern to work full-time this season.
The second-tier club, said to be worth in the region of £34m, advertised the year-long role with no pay on their website.
But the ad sparked a fierce backlash online, with some fans saying the club should be paying the successful applicant as the position amounted to an unpaid job.
However, a spokesman for the club told BirminghamLive the job was “work experience” and “would enhance an undergraduate’s chances of gaining employment”.
The year-long placement, in the Brand and Marketing department, is unpaid. However, the successful applicant will have their bus pass or mileage covered.
The role is advertised for those aged 16 and above, who have a “genuine passion” for football media and possess knowledge of club media output. “Advanced editing skills are welcomed”, the ad reads.
Applicants must also be “willing to work matchdays and unsociable hours where applicable”.
The ad goes on to say: “The role will be varied and will require a hardworking dedicated individual and in exchange we can guarantee that the experience you will gain from the role will stand you in great stead for any future career in the marketing industry.
“To get the best from this opportunity, it is imperative that applicants can commit to the position for the entire 2021-2022 season. There is also be the opportunity for additional matchday paid work available.”
Football fans condemned the club’s decision to advertise the role as “unethical”.
Rob Weaver wrote on Twitter: “Only people with independent income and/or parental support can afford to gain this ‘valuable experience’. Internships another example of British life where opportunities restricted to the few.”
Terry Farley wrote: “Imagine asking a player to join in a volunteer basis @BCFC.”
“If they wanted someone on a matchday to film or help on the website or socials that’s fair enough if someone wanted to do it. A full time job for a bus pass is unethical and exploitation especially when they pay thousands to players and they pay other media people a wage,” one fan commented.
While another added: “Only a person of existing economic privilege and security could afford to take this opportunity. Therefore, it excludes most. So continues the gentrification of football.”
Jack Waddington tweeted: “I’m sorry. Full time…VOLUNTARY? No way in hell would anyone put themselves down for a full time role with no pay.”
And Alice Goodall wrote: “This is an absolute disgrace – that would be a big remit for an experienced marketer and you’re expecting someone to do it for free? Pay your staff a fair wage – don’t exploit young and inexperienced people under the guise of “helping” them start a career.”
After being widely condemned for the ad, the club said many placement students had gone on to secure permanent, paid work with the likes of Manchester United, Everton and West Bromwich Albion.
A Birmingham City FC spokesman told BirminghamLive: “Our work placement programme has been successful across several departments of the Football Club in recent years.
“The programme provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience and potential employment opportunities whilst studying for a degree in an official sandwich/gap year and in-conjunction with our local universities.
“Each year we receive a high volume of requests for these types of placements, such is the demand for students to gain genuine experience in a work environment.
“We have numerous examples of placement students who have gone on to secure permanent work upon completion of their studies, both here at Birmingham City, and with the likes of Manchester United, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion.
“Whilst the placement is advertised as full-time, the Club are flexible around the students request for placement hours and will accommodate personal circumstances as much as possible.
“It’s important to note that the placement advertises the industry specific areas the student will have the opportunity to gain experience in, working alongside existing members of the team. These are not individual responsibilities that make up a job description.
“Ultimately, we believe this opportunity will enhance an undergraduate’s chances of gaining employment in their chosen field.”
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