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An intern is someone who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment. Interns are usually students or graduates seeking skills for a new career or experience through volunteering. The smaller size of most charities and their flatter structures when compared to many businesses means that charity internships can expose people to much greater hands-on experience than corporate ones.
Scroll down to find out why you should become a charity intern, or why your organisation should employ one...
All you give is your time in return for great training and experience. You can gain loads of contacts from the corporate and communal partners that most charities have and receive career guidance from experienced professionals in a variety of fields. A charity will let you better explore and display your skills and abilities, and internships sometimes lead to employment as well as important contacts.
Interns can boost your staff numbers and give current stuff much-needed support. They also may offer a dimension or set of skills to your work and come from an "outside" perspective, offering fresh insight. You also have the opportunity to nurture a future volunteer, member of staff or community leader.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has produced some best practice guidelines for employers. This document aims to help employers start an internship scheme or improve their existing programme. It includes a checklist and model agreement – click here to download it.
It is recommended that, as a minimum, reasonable travel and lunch expenses for interns should be covered. It is also suggested, particularly if the internship lasts for three months or more, that a salary that is equal to the National Minimum Wage is paid.
The entitlement to the NMW depends on the nature of the working arrangements, not on what the internship or job is called. Charities, which are often not able to afford NMW, have to make sure that the internship is classed as doing voluntary work. Paying out of pocket expenses is good practice.
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