For Caroline Kenyon, founder and director of the Food Photography Awards and the World Bread Awards, the most compelling reason she has offered around 40 work experience placements and internships over the past 15 years has been to give others the same opportunities she enjoyed when she was young.
“I was very fortunate in being offered some amazing work experience in my late teens and early 20s,” she says. “I received a great deal of kindness, met wonderful people, learned a lot, and had some blue-chip names to put on my CV. So, when I was in a position to help young people myself, I wanted to offer the experience I had received to others.”
Two of the people who began as work experience placements are now full-time staff, she adds. “Georgia came to us when she was 16. I was really impressed with her, and now, at 29, she has been our PR manager for the last year. Alyssia also came when she was 16. Again, I thought she had real quality and was thrilled that she was available when I had a sudden vacancy two years ago.”
The feeling of giving something back also appealed to Julianne Ponan, CEO of Creative Nature, which produces allergen-free snacks. “I was only 22 when I started Creative Nature,” she says. “I wanted to support other young people too, so early on we had interns coming in. It’s about passing the ladder back down and inspiring others.”