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Dip in Before you dive in

There's no better way to get your feet wet before you dive into our world, than with an agency internship experience.

The Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) is committed to creating the conditions for successful internship work placements within our ICA Member community.

Find out more about the ICA’s START UP INTERN PREP program. For students looking to make the right moves in their job readiness preparation including interviewing, portfolio shaping & search/networking strategies.

Find out more about the ICA’s RISE UP INTERN IMMERSION program. For current intern employees at ICA member agencies. Get access to the strategies you need to be successful in moving from an internship to a full time job.

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Internship FAQS

Stay afloat with answers to the questions most frequently asked by those exploring internship positions.

What if you don?t know whether an internship experience is right for you?

A way to explore the idea of applying for an agency internship position is by participating in the annual ICA led Next Gen Day (part of FFWD Advertising & Marketing Week), which is usually held during the last week of January. During the day, individuals and current students from participating Canadian colleges and universities get to experience ?A Day in the Life? at a select agency. They also get to build their network through an industry-wide event held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. To learn more about how to enrol, contact ICA or check with your class ombudsman to see if your school participates.

What types of internship positions are available in Agency organizations?

The quick answer is, most of an agency?s entry-level jobs are good fits with an internship experience. Typically, there are a range of different entry-level skills that agencies offer to nurture as internship positions including: Art Direction, Copy Writing, Account Co-ordination, Media Buying/Planning Co-ordination and Production/Creative Services co-ordination.

What is the value of an internship placement in your ultimate job search?

Knowledge is power! An internship placement is invaluable for providing you with tangible experience and perspective on what working in an Agency is like. Realistically, it can be tough to land a full-time job at an Agency. Internships give you a leg-up in building your perspective, your experience and also your network for landing a full-time job later down the road.

What can you expect during an internship placement?

You can expect a lot of things: You will be run off your feet. You will need to prepare to just ?strap in? and go along for the ride. You will find out about yourself and how you work with others, as well as how you work under pressure with ambiguous and volatile creative projects. You will find out if the energy of creating new ideas and working with highly talented and service oriented individuals is your ?game?. AND of course, hopefully, you can expect to have lots of fun while you are exploring your options and meeting new people.

What can you do to increase your chances of landing an intern placement?

Increasing your odds of landing an internship placement depends on several things. You have to be very clear that gaining this kind of experience is what you want to do. This is because many other people want it as well. So, you need to be able to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You can help yourself get clarification about what makes you a good fit by: reviewing info on this site, asking people who are in the industry what it is like, and by determining just what it is about the industry that interests you. Build a strong book of work that you?ve created yourself. Engage in learning about why some work works, and why some works bombs. A great source of knowledge is the ICA CASSIES website. The CASSIES is an acclaimed industry award show for proven work. You?ll find an excellent case library here that you can rip into and eat up.

What to watch out for when considering an internship placement.

Know your rights. Not all internship positions are created equal. Agencies that are members of the Institute of Communication Agencies adhere to a published Code of Ethics that demonstrates commitment to fair and ethical practices. In terms of worker rights and protections, every provincial government has different oversight and definitions of what constitutes full-time vs. temporary work, as well as when minimum wage is required vs. when the placement is a non-paid placement typically generated through a college or university program. Check out your provincial Ministry of Labour for more specific information. While labour law is somewhat ambiguous, strides are being made by the Canadian Intern Association to strengthen regulations as it pertains to definitions and protections accorded to interns in temporary work placement. Here are some other helpful government references:

What Young Workers Need to Know About Their Rights

When are Unpaid Internships Legal in Ontario?

What is ICA doing to continue improving the Agency internship experience?

While there is so much already being done (including the creation of this website to help engage you in exploring the Agency world and find your way), there are still lots of opportunities to help improve agency internship experiences for both interns and employers. The Institute of Communication Agencies is committed to helping young future employees navigate the Agency world to find their way, to discover fit potential and build job search and critical networking skills for employment opportunities. One way to get started is to check out Next Gen Day ? an exclusive industry experience for the next generation of talent. And perhaps most importantly, ask what you can do for yourself. Gaining experience is key to getting ahead in the Agency world and one of the best ways to gain experience is to land an intern position. But it doesn?t stop there. You also need to demonstrate your skill and passion by engaging in the work ? creating a concept book, sharing your opinion, finding a mentor and considering industry entry-level training to give you more advantages. If you are interested in hearing about ICA?s future entry-level industry-training initiatives contact us.