Internship Policy - Internal Guidelines for Inclusive Internships

Adopted at the EDF executive August 2018

Background

In accordance with the European Quality Charter on Internships and apprenticeships (http://www.youthforum.org/assets/2013/10/0595-10_European_Quality_Charte... following the recommendations in the European Youth Forum’s  Employer’s Guide to Quality Internships) EDF has drafted this internal internship policy to guide our collaboration with interns and trainees.

This policy aims at giving guidelines to set up and maintain a quality internships framework within the organisation and to ensure that, from the selection of the interns to the end of their internship, all the aspects such as recruitment, compensation and supervision are covered, according to the quality standards and code of conduct stipulated in this document.

Definition

The European Disability Forum defines internships as either:

  • part of higher education that brings credit points where interns have a student status, access to services like student loans, student housing, health insurance, scholarships etc.
  • taking place outside formal education (also after graduation) that do not bring credit points for the diploma.
  • or any other form of similar work experience that is offered to young people as a work-based learning opportunity.

Internal Guidelines for Quality Internships

Recruitment and selection

The internship must be a win-win situation for both the organisation and the intern. Therefore, before opening any internship position EDF should:

  • Assess the internal needs of EDF and the team (priority upcoming projects, expansion of project, new skills required);
  • Ensure that the tasks, projects or activities carried out by the intern provide a sufficient and challenging learning experience;
  • Ensure the availability of the supervisor throughout the whole internship period and other adequate support that is required;
  • Ensure that the organisation has the human capital and technical resources to host an intern (supervision skills, workstation, accident at work insurance)
  • Ensure that the organisation has the adequate budget to assume the costs

How many interns are we allowed to host in the organisation?

In order to offer a good supervision and quality internships, EDF will:

  •  not host more than 3 interns at the same time.
  •  ensure that a supervisor has the responsibility of 1 intern only.
  • ensure that internships in the framework of the studies do not exceed 6 months.
  • ensure that internships outside of educational duties do no exceed 9 months.

The Director will determine the organisational needs for internship support and determine the internship supervisor in each case

What are the legal requirements?

The internship must be officially formalised. No internship can start without a signed internship agreement and without making sure that all legal requirements (insurance, maximum duration, compensation, learning experience) are fulfilled.

Internship in the framework of the studies

The internship agreement provided by the university/school is signed by three parties (the host organisation, the educational establishment and the student). Before signing the agreement, make sure that there is an accident at work insurance coverage supported by the university and check the university requirements in terms of financial compensation, educational credits and learning outcomes.

Internship outside of the educational duties

Under the current Belgian legislation, internships performed outside of the educational framework should be carried out under the “Convention d’immersion professionnelle (CIP)”. Any paid internship within the EDF should be registered under the CIP and comply with the legal requirements in terms of minimum compensation wage and training programme validation.

What kind of information should the call for open internship contain?

The call should mention:

  • The profile of the candidate (qualifications, skills and knowledge).
  • The learning objectives and competencies that will be developed.
  • The tasks that the intern will perform and the project they will be working on.
  • The duration and legal framework of the internship.
  • Whether there is any financial compensation and coverage of expenses.

How should internship interviews be conducted?

Internship interviews should be organised and conducted the same way as for employees. However, specific attention should be paid to the fact that this interview would probably be the first contact of the candidate with the professional world and also their first job experience.

For this reason, the interviewer should focus on the candidate’s potential, volunteering experience, soft-skills and learning expectations as well as give a constructive feedback at the end of the selection process.

Compensation

What kind of financial compensation do we offer?

Paid internship

Paid internships offered by EDF are compensated with an amount equivalent to the standard for CIP. In addition to the compensation, EDF grants:

  • The coverage of the transportation expenses;
  • Luncheon vouchers for the value of €8 per day
  • 2 days leave for each month of the internship which must be taken during the internship period;
  • In the event of sickness, staff members must immediately inform the line manager and the Finance and HR Officer and produce a medical certificate after 24 hours of absence.
  • Work-accident insurance coverage;
  • Time off to attend job interviews or job seeking.

Unpaid internship

  • The coverage of the transportation expenses;
  • Luncheon vouchers for the value of €8 per day
  • 4 days leave for each month of the internship;
  • In the event of sickness, staff members must immediately inform the line manager and the Finance and HR Officer and produce a medical certificate after 24 hours of absence.
  • Work-accident insurance coverage;
  • Time to work on their thesis if their internship is part of it
  • Time off to attend job interviews or job seeking.

Overtime

The interns should not do overtime.

In the case of events such as EDF Governance events for which the intern has shown an interest in taking part, any work performed above the regular working time will be compensated by an equivalent recuperation time off.  In the event that an intern works during the weekend, either in Brussels or elsewhere, at the explicit request of the supervisor or Director, a time sheet showing this overtime must be submitted to Director or Finance and HR Officer before time is taken off in lieu of these hours.

In accordance with Belgian legislation, time off in lieu for overtime worked at the weekend is granted as follows:

One day and a half per Saturday worked, two days per Sunday or statutory public holiday.

Training opportunities

The main aim of the internship being to acquire knowledge and skills, the EDF is eager to give interns the opportunity to attend staff's internal and/or external training courses that could be beneficial to them, in line with available budget and as agreed with the supervisor.

Learning Plan

The aim of the internship being to learn, it is important to set up a training plan with the intern.

The general learning objectives are set before the internship. Once the intern has started with these objectives, their supervisor has 2 weeks to further develop and discuss them with the intern.

Internships conducted under the “Convention d’Immersion Professionelle” must include a training plan. This “plan de formation” must be approved in advance by Brussels Formation for the CIP to be legally valid.

The learning plan should mention the goal of the internship, a timeline, the name of the supervisor, a description of the tasks, and the set of competencies that will be developed

Induction

On their first day, the intern will be welcomed by their supervisor and the Director or Finance and HR officer. They will be introduced to the staff members and will receive an induction plan and information relevant to their work at the EDF. During the Induction, the interns will receive briefings on the following:

  • Presentation of the practical functioning of the EDF secretariat (office, codes, etc.)
  • Briefing on EDF’s strategy, structure, and policy priorities
  • Presentation of EDF’s past and present work (using a general PPT presentation)
  • Presentation on EDF membership, internal and external communications
  • Introduction to basic communication tasks related to EDF’s work (editing of website, use of social media accounts, etc.)
  • Instructions on how to conduct a daily press review(according to the tasks of the intern)
  • Instructions on how to use the EDF databases and folders
  • Finance manual and expenses reimbursement form (specific for unpaid interns)
  • Health and safety at work

Guidance and Supervision

The supervisor plays a key role as they will train, mentor and assess the intern’s work. Therefore, it is important that they are eager and available to take on this responsibility.

Considering the importance of supervising a student or intern, only people who have undergone a training on intern supervision or staff management can guide and supervise interns.

In order to create and maintain good working relations the supervisor must keep regular contacts with the intern through formal and informal meetings. It is also essential that they have a mid-term meeting with the intern’s university based supervisor. The intern’s supervisor should at least have one mid-term meeting with the university/school.

Evaluation

The intern must receive regular feedback and guidance from their supervisor but also from people they work with. At the end of the internship, an evaluation of the work done and the skills acquired will be conducted by the supervisor.

For internships in the framework of the studies, an evaluation form shall be provided by the educational establishment.

A record of these assessments shall be kept. Hence the supervisor shall provide the Office Manager with a copy. Once the end of internship evaluation form has been submitted to the Office Manager, an internship attestation will be delivered.

During a review meeting, the supervisor will assess how well the intern performed, what they learned, what were their strengths and weaknesses and the attitude shown.

A letter of recommendation can be issued upon request.

In-house statute

In line with the recommendations in the European Youth Forum’s Employers' Guide to Quality Internships:

The interns are given the opportunity to:

  • Attend secretariat and staff meetings.
  • Have the same access as the staff to in-house trainings.
  • Contribute to projects by giving inputs and suggestions.
  • Be informed about their rights and address work and well-being related issues
  • Attend staff collective trainings.

Responsibilities

Director:

  • Approves and signs the internship agreement, only after the assessment of the Supervisor and HR Manager;
  • Ensures internship’s compliance with the legislation (CIP);
  • Ensures internship’s compliance with our internal policy and the Charter;
  • Ensures interns' safety and security.
  • Assess the needs and required resources before opening an internship vacancy;
  • Identify who will supervise the intern;
  • Approve the internship learning programme.
  • Takes part in the induction process;

Intern’s Supervisor:

  • Participates in the recruitment process;
  • Welcomes the intern on their first day;
  • Develops the internship learning programme;
  • Carries out the intern’s evaluation;
  • Supervises and provide feedback;
  • Ensures the communication with the educational establishment;
  • Drafts the internship offer;
  • Oversees the induction process.

HR Manager:

  • Leads the recruitment process
  • Reports any violation to internship policy and legal regulations;
  • Acts as a point of contact for any work issues that the intern might encounter during the internship;
  • Provides proper documentation: templates of internship agreements, intern’s evaluation and exit interview can be provided upon request;
  • Provides an internship attestation.