A voluntary code of practice geared towards improving the quality of workplace schemes has been launched by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The Internship Charter is based on six principles and follows commitment from government and the business community to expand internships.
The code aims to encourage best practice and ensure the quantity of work placements on offer does not reduce the quality of placements.
It centres on the following principles:
- Recruitment: Interns should be recruited in broadly the same way as regular employees
- Induction: Interns should receive a proper induction to the organisation they enter to allow them to fully integrate
- Supervision: Organisations should ensure a dedicated person has ring-fenced time in their work schedule to supervise the intern and conduct regular performance reviews
- Treatment: Interns should be treated with exactly the same degree of professionalism and duty of care as regular employees
- Payment and duration: As a bare minimum the organisation should cover any necessary work-related expenses incurred by the intern
- Certification/reference and feedback: Organisations should provide interns with a certificate/reference letter detailing the work they have undertaken and skills acquired, on completion of their internship.
Tom Richmond, CIPD skills adviser, said: "Our Internship Charter will offer organisations a way to provide interns with a genuine and worthwhile experience that enhances their skills and their overall employability, which will have important knock-on effects for UK businesses and the overall jobs market. There are many potential benefits for business of all sizes but only if it is of sufficient quality.
He added: "During these difficult times it is right for government to encourage organisations to offer internships, but we believe that our new code of practice should be adhered to, especially if interns are working for no salary."