Visual Artists Ireland. To Work with Purpose: Best Practice Guidelines for Internships. Bernadette Beecher Áine Macken. Visual Artists Ireland - PDF

Visual Artists Ireland providing practical support to professional artists throughout their careers To Work with Purpose: Best Practice Guidelines for Internships Bernadette Beecher Áine Macken Visual

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Visual Artists Ireland providing practical support to professional artists throughout their careers To Work with Purpose: Best Practice Guidelines for Internships Bernadette Beecher Áine Macken Visual Artists Ireland January 2014 3 4 Contents Background... 8 Objectives of the Guidelines:... 9 Survey Overview: Consultation: Best Practice Guidelines: Definition of the internship APPENDIX 1: Sample Internship Agreement APPENDIX 2: Sample Internship Confidentiality Agreement APPENDIX 3: Checklist of Expectations APPENDIX 4: Case Studies Acknowledgements... 32 5 6 Visual Artists Ireland Dublin, Tuesday, January 21, 2014 In June 2013 Forbes Magazine ran an article with the heading Is the Unpaid Internship Dead? The article spoke about a judgment in New York which ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke federal labour law and New York state minimum wage laws when it employed two production interns, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, on the film Black Swan, for no pay. The outlined how, interns in creative fields, Glatt and Footman performed thankless tasks with no educational value, like ordering lunch, answering phones and taking out the garbage. Because so many people want to get a foot in the door in the film world, for years interns have been willing to do scut work in exchange for proximity to movie producers and talent. It further explained that arrangement breaks laws that date back to 1938, when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes many of the basic labor laws we take for granted today, like the minimum wage. This phenomenon is not limited to the film industry nor is it something that happens only in America. We, in Visual Artists Ireland, have become aware of a lack of understanding of internships, and a rise in the abuse of the term in both commercial and not for profit organisations. In response to calls from organisations and from individuals we established a working group to investigate the current situation in Ireland with a view to creating a set of simple easily implemented guidelines that would provide both a clear definition of what an internship is and the structures required to ensure that both organizations and individuals benefit from the experience in an equitable and meaningful manner. The working group has spent over a year preparing this document which I believe will be of great benefit to the arts sector and to the wider business world. I would like to thank Bernadette Beecher for leading the project and the team for their incredible work and encourage individuals and organsations to use the recommendations when considering internship programmes in the future. Noel Kelly Chief Executive Officer Visual Artists Ireland 7 8 Best Practice Guidelines for Internships Background January 2014 In September 2012 Visual Artists Ireland invited a group of participants to form a Working Group to examine internships in the visual arts sector. In doing so Visual Artists Ireland was responding to a number of complaints from its members about the treatment they had received while on internship programmes. These complaints came both from those on the JobBridge Internship Programme and those who had participated in non-government-sanctioned internship programmes. Interns have become an established part of the infrastructure in the visual arts sector. As well as assisting growth, they enable organisations affected by reduced public and consumer spending to sustain services. Therefore, Visual Artists Ireland saw it as necessary to examine the treatment and working conditions of interns. The Working Group looked at ways in which the welfare and interest of interns could be improved and to provide clarification of the responsibilities of host organisations. Some of the wider structural implications for the visual arts sector were also considered. A strategic aim should be to ensure that employment in the arts is seen as a sustainable career choice. Internships should also provide opportunities for people from as diverse a range of backgrounds as possible. Although interns are not regarded as employees of a company / organisation, there are laws relating to the workplace which give them protection and place obligations on host organisations. These include: the Tax Acts; the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005; The Holidays (Employees) Acts, 1973 and 1991; and also the Employment Equality Acts, , which place an obligation on all employers in Ireland to prevent discrimination in the workplace. The attraction of a good internship is that it should provide a valuable learning experience. It should allow an individual to develop new skills, or enhance existing skills that are applicable to their chosen area. It should allow for the development of interpersonal work relationships and help the candidate to learn good work habits such as time management and communication skills. It 9 should also allow for networking opportunities that will lead to paid employment or help to further the intern s career in a tangible way. The Working Group considers the introduction of these Best Practice Guidelines for Internships a vital step in the development of an ethical infrastructure for the visual arts sector. Objectives of the Guidelines: The main objective of these guidelines is to provide clarity, definition and a mutually beneficial arrangement for both organisations and interns in the visual arts sector. As the prime purpose of internships is to provide this mutually beneficial and structured two-way relationship, interns should be provided with a meaningful, quality experience that will further their career prospects. Internships should give the candidate an opportunity to test their interest in a particular career while developing time management, communication and interpersonal work skills. There is no formal legal definition of an internship and, to complicate the situation, there are a number of phrases used to describe non-contractual work that offers a candidate some experience in the workforce. It is therefore easier to describe what an internship is not. Internships are not: Volunteering volunteers are not entitled to payment or benefits in kind. There should be no contractual obligations between volunteer and arts organisations. Please see Volunteer Ireland s Guidelines if you need more information ( Student Placement unpaid work undertaken by someone in education as a required part of their course, with reasonable expenses paid. An apprenticeship any formal apprenticeship programme offered by an employer. A traineeship a formal training programme offered by an employer or training provider, with an emphasis on practical training. While a traineeship is often a more formalised structure than other forms of work experience, the difference between a traineeship and an internship is often purely down to the vocabulary that the employer chooses to use. Please see the European Union directive on this: ( _en.htm) Work experience generally aimed at young people of school age (4th, 5th and 6th Years). A work experience placement is usually brief (one or two weeks) and 10 provides an opportunity for young people to gain experience of working in a particular industry or section. So while there is no legal definition of exactly what an internship is, it is generally understood to be employment in a junior (often graduate level) role, for a set period of time (often three to six months). Internships have become associated largely but by no means exclusively with graduates entering the labour market and wanting experience in a particular area. The government sponsored National Internship Scheme (JobBridge) has its own set of criteria and performance values. The Working Group has drawn up these guidelines for internships offered by individual organisations where there seems to be wide scale discrepancies in the management and treatment of interns. Survey Overview: Below are the results of a nationwide survey of current and former interns in the visual arts sector. There were 91 respondents and the age breakdown is as follows: 11 e chart relaying figures of the length of service of survey s participants Pi 12 The survey questioned how the intern was treated, if they had a good experience and whether they were provided with a mentor while on the internship. Generally, the response to these two questions was 30% positive, while 70% of respondents had a negative experience. The survey also asked if respondents had been asked to give feedback to the organisation after they had finished the internship. There was an overwhelmingly negative response to this question. Respondents were also asked if the internship they completed helped them to get employment. 60% said they had either got full time employment, contract work or been enabled to complete a further internship. There was some discussion about the eligibility criteria of the JobBridge scheme being widened to recognise professional artists as mentors (it has recently been widened to include internships on a one-to-one basis in the craft sector). In order to get some views on this, we put this question into the internship survey with very mixed results. There was a 50/ 50 divide on this, with very opposing views. Please also see Appendix 4 for a selection of case studies from the survey. Consultation: As part of the process, the Working Group consulted with a variety of organisations in order to ascertain their relationship to and experience of providing internships. We consulted with 16 organisations. There was wide variation between organisations, both in their concept of what exactly defines an internship and the requirements they considered necessary in order to achieve an effective internship. In response to our questions, we received the following replies from different host organisations. Most of the organisations consulted felt that the concept of the intern can be misunderstood and in order to ensure the successful completion of an internship: Clarity needs to come from the role description and thoroughly prepared agreement with intern and organisation should be put in place While host organisations rely on interns for support, they should try to introduce paths and opportunities for them Regularly, when organisations give interns a title, the term intern is not mentioned. There was disagreement between organisations as to whether this was a good or bad thing. Some organisations felt that not acknowledging the term intern in the job title was better for the future employment prospect of the candidate. Other host 13 organisations felt this put considerable pressure on candidates who might not have a lot of experience Host organisations wanted to know the legal status of interns with regard to maternity / sick leave / insurance cover etc. A review or a probationary period was suggested to ensure the intern is right for the role Some host organisations referenced the lack of funding which resulted in the need for interns in order to fulfil the workload each organisation is subject to by funders; There was a suggestion that the implementation of the guidelines should be a condition for admission of listings into VAI s ebulletin We consulted with a diverse selection of organisations in order to gain an insight into the availability and variety of internships offered. Some organisations do not offer internships. Some find JobBridge unworkable, while others use this alone. Other organisations use work placement for students with or without formal arrangements for other internships. There was no consensus on how different organisations structure internships. Some organisations ran voluntary programmes with informal structures in place. With reference to a question about how host organisations found operating the government sanctioned JobBridge scheme, half of the organisations consulted used this scheme either exclusively or with extra use of non-jobbridge interns and volunteers. Outlined below is a summary of the responses received: Of the organisations that did not use JobBridge, a small number did not qualify under the JobBridge terms. The larger majority found JobBridge to be unworkable or they only used volunteers or work placement students. Only large organisations did not have a problem with the early departure of interns. All others (80%) who use the JobBridge scheme reported problems. One organisation thought that a probationary period to ensure that the intern is right for the organisation and vice versa would be good. Some organisations commented that the JobBridge scheme was unworkable for some applicants. In particular, they referenced candidates who left before the end of their internship because of economic reasons. For example, one organisation said that they lost a very valuable candidate because as a single parent, she could not afford childcare. The 50 extra that JobBridge funds did not cover this cost and organisations are not permitted to supplement income to interns under the JobBridge guidelines. 14 Some organisations mentioned their frustration with the three months of unemployment that a candidate needs in order to be eligible to avail of JobBridge. They stated that there were fine art graduates who wanted experience in a gallery but could not afford to stay on the dole for that period of time (they are working in cafes etc.) They wondered if the JobBridge scheme could be extended to cover those working on minimum wage who wanted specific experience for their chosen career path. One organisation did not see an extension of JobBridge to a longer period as problematic if the candidate needed a longer experience of the sector. However they thought that in those cases the minimum wage should be paid. All the organisations consulted agreed that interns in general prop up the sector in light of reduced funding and are being used to ensure the sector s sustainability. Some organisations would like to employ someone for marketing and PR but have no staff designated to this role, so cannot do so. They would like some advice on how this could be achieved to benefit both the organisation and the intern. Some of the smaller organisations wondered if the criteria for host organisations could be extended to include small organisations with part-time employees. One organisation thought that the German system where an intern is paid half the minimum wage was a reasonable idea. Best Practice Guidelines: Definition of the internship An internship should: provide a valuable supported learning experience; provide mentorship; allow an individual to develop or enhance skills that are applicable to their chosen area; ensure the development of interpersonal work relationships; enable the candidate to learn good work habits such as communication, time and project management skills; offer networking opportunities that will lead to paid employment or help to further the intern s career in other tangible ways. An internship is not Volunteering, Student Placement, Apprenticeship or Work Experience. 15 Written agreement: Each intern should be provided with a contract / letter of understanding outlining the role and responsibilities within the organisation that will be allocated to the intern. See example checklist for guidance. An intern should be provided with a defined role and job title. An internship should be short term and ideally between three and six months. Objectives educational Many interns have some experience and qualifications that would be advantageous to an organisation. An internship should be either the first experience of a role or an advancement from a voluntary position. In order to achieve this supportive and advantageous internship; one which will provide a meaningful experience and enhance an interns employability in the future; there should be a clear set of achievable objectives from the outset. These include transparency on day-to-day activities and responsibilities and clarity of progression within the organisation (if applicable). In general all interns should be given a level of responsibility that will further their experience. Recruitment Interns should be recruited in the same way as regular employees of an organisation, with proper consideration given to how their skills and qualifications fit the tasks they will be expected to undertake. Recruitment should be conducted in an open and transparent way to enable fair and equal access to available internships. Induction Before the intern starts, a written contract should be put in place defining the intern s working hours, the length of the internship, the intern s goals and their obligations. Any training the intern will require for their role should be planned in advance. This plan should be shared with the intern on their first day. The training should include a health and safety induction tailored to the individual organisation. 16 Supervision Organisations should ensure that there is a dedicated person(s) to supervise the intern and conduct regular performance reviews. This person should provide ongoing feedback to the intern, be their advocate and mentor during the period of the internship, and conduct formal performance reviews to evaluate the success of their time with the organisation. Payment & Duration Where possible the intern should be paid the National Minimum Wage. At the very least Host Organisations should cover necessary work-related expenses incurred by the intern: travel to, from and during work. This will ensure wider access and allow people from varied economic backgrounds to access internships. Reference A detailed personalised reference should be provided at the end of the internship. Working conditions Health & Safety: The Host Organisation must be fully compliant with current workplace health and safety and all other legal requirements. Garda Vetting: The Host Organisation has responsibility to ensure that the appropriate process is applied to placements that require Garda vetting. Interns must agree to comply with requests for Garda Vetting where necessary. Annual Leave: Interns are entitled to all Public Holidays and 1.75 days annual leave for each month they participate in an internship. Sick Leave: The maximum cumulative sick leave permissible over the course of an internship is five working days over a three month internship; ten working days over a six to nine month internship. 17 APPENDIX 1: Sample Internship Agreement Name & Address of Host Organisation: Personal Details Name of Intern: Contact details of Intern: Address: Phone Number: Relevant Medical Information / Contact Information: In case intern has a specific medical condition which may be relevant to the host organisation. Internship Details Title of the internship: Management of Internship: The Host Organisation will assign a staff member with direct responsibility for mentoring the intern placement. Name of Staff Member: 18 Sample Internship Agreement - continued Nature of experience to be gained by the intern / job responsibilities: (See also Appendix 3) Provide a description of the intern s responsibilities, including both daily responsibilities and broader assignments to be completed during the course of the internship experience. Goals and Objectives: Provide a description or list of the intern s goals and objectives to be completed by the end of the internship based on professional development. General Responsibilities of the Parties: The Intern will have the following responsibilities: Work on the days and times agreed with the mentor. Conform to the regulations and dress code (if any) of the organisation in which the internship takes place. Maintain the confidentiality of the organisation in which the internship takes place. Notify the mentor of any planned absences before the internship takes place. Notify the mentor of any unplanned absences (e.g. illness etc) during the internship
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