What are the minimum requirements to host an intern?
Host Organisations need to provide:
- Meaningful and structured project/activities that add value to the organisation and give interns the opportunity to understand the community work that you do and individual people you serve. Our interns usually work on a significant project that requires them to develop a final piece of work near the completion of 100 hours of service: e.g. writing a comprehensive report, giving an oral presentation to key stakeholders, providing recommendations to the organisation on how to improve internal processes, etc. The main tasks detailed in the role description should not be general administrative tasks, that is, the tasks should not be what a staff member at the organisation would normally undertake. Your organisation’s portal has some templates available that can assist you in developing a meaningful role.
- A project/activity for each internship that requires a minimum of 100 hours in order for the intern to meet their academic requirements.
- An appropriate and safe work environment (including equipment and materials) to ensure that the student is embedded in the organisation, can carry out necessary tasks, and be supported to feel safe at all times.
- Regular supervision from a paid employee and opportunities for the intern to receive feedback on the work that they undertake. Interns are current students who have limited professional experience and need constant guidance and support. It is possible that the student would have some knowledge/experience using particular software but ideally, the organisation will be able to support the intern’s learning and/or provide training if required.
- Completion of basic paperwork, including signing timesheets, a short mid-internship and end-of-internship evaluation on the intern’s performance, and a brief program survey at the end of the internship period.
What level of supervision is required?
Students should be supervised at all times during the internship. It is advisable that supervisors plan to have a check-in or meeting with their intern at regular intervals throughout. Supervisors need to ensure students are provided with an induction to the organisation and work premises, as well as copies of workplace policies and procedures, (e.g. occupational health and safety, security and emergencies).
Does my organisation need to supply a computer and other equipment?
Organisations should provide students access to all facilities and amenities necessary or desirable for carrying out the internship. This may include a desk, computer, office supplies and other equipment required for their role. However, if this is not possible students may be asked to use their own personal devices. This should be discussed with the Internship Adviser and noted in the Role Description.
Are there any financial costs to organisations in hosting interns?
No. There is no cost to becoming a host organisation and internships are unpaid. Internships that require travel of any kind (including car travel within the Perth metropolitan area, regional or interstate travel) may incur costs for the host organisation; this should be discussed with the Internships Adviser in advance of hosting an intern.
Do internships need to fit into the standard teaching periods?
Yes. The McCusker Centre internships are strictly run in the rounds outlined above (see Dates & Deadlines). Internships need to take place within the dates and at the intensity (i.e. days per week) outlined.
We offer internships all year round, which includes:
- 12-week semester internships (February-May and July-October) where interns work approximately one day per week; and
- 4- or 5-week intensive internships in Summer and Winter (November-December and June-July) where interns work approximately three days per week.
How are interns matched to the roles?
Our application has been carefully designed to identify the strengths, experience and interests of each student. With this and our careful role development process, our internship matches are overwhelmingly successful.
It is important to note that we focus on service to the community, not work experience nor career progression. We take a holistic approach when matching students to roles as we look at several other factors besides their course of study: academic performance, professional and voluntary experience, interests, transferable skills, knowledge of our program and motivation to make a difference in the community. This is why in some cases, a student may be matched with a role based on their extracurricular experience and not according to their current studies, as our primary focus is service-learning and the intern demonstrates relevant competencies overall.
Is my organisation guaranteed an intern?
At the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, we do everything in our power to ensure that each internship role is filled by a suitable student applicant. However, on rare occasions we may not be able to match a suitable student. In these situations, you will be notified as soon as possible.
Can interns work from home?
Host organisations are required to provide interns a safe and suitable workspace on location at their organisation, along with the necessary equipment and materials to carry out their tasks. Our interns report that they experience greater engagement with organisations and their communities, as well as learning outcomes, when on site at their organisation. It also ensures the safety and wellbeing of interns, and reduces risks of cyber security and data confidentiality that may arise when interns work from home.
Under exceptional circumstances, the Internships Team may consider an internship role that requires an intern to work from home, for some of their 100 hours of service. It is essential that organisations talk to us about this in advance and receive approval from the Internships Team to host a partially work-from-home internship. Student interns are advised that they cannot request to work from home.
What are the insurance requirements?
Interns are covered by UWA’s student placement insurance (see Resources above or the UWA website). The interns’ enrolment ensures that this cover is automatic and does not require special documentation.
Unless otherwise agreed, organisations must maintain the following insurance cover for the duration of the internship covering the organisation and the student:
- Public liability insurance with insured limits in respect to bodily injury and property damage of at least $20,000,000 in respect of each claim and unlimited in aggregate; and
- Professional indemnity insurance in the amount of not less than $10 million.
If your organisation does not have this level of cover, please simply talk to us as this can be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Are internships compliant with Fair Work requirements?
Yes. As all the students are enrolled in an academic unit to credit the internship, our program meets the Fair Work Ombudsman requirements for unpaid internships. This also means that our international students are able to complete the internship, without concerns about visa work restrictions. To help ensure these requirements are met, internships should not include tasks that a paid employee would usually do or that is part of day-to-day operations. Read more on the Fair Work website.
Is the program restricted to Perth-based organisations?
No. The program is open to organisations throughout WA and interstate and international internships are also possible (pending travel restrictions). Internships that require a student to travel away from Perth should be planned for Summer or Winter intensive internships.
What do students get out of their internship?
Our internship program is specifically designed to foster community-minded thinkers and leaders, to inspire students to become lifelong contributors to our communities and to promote awareness about challenging social issues. Every student who undertakes our internships is enrolled in a unit, which appears on their transcript. They may or may not be taking the unit for academic credit. Our program attracts applications from a wide range of students, from first year undergraduate through to PhD candidates, from the range of disciplines offered at UWA. Our program is not a requirement of any course, which means that the students who apply are self-motivated to undertake a community internship.
What is the difference between the Student Deed Poll and the Student Service Learning Agreement?
The Student Deed Poll is a written agreement that establishes expectations of professional and ethical conduct in line with the values of the University of Western Australia and the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, as well as acknowledges attitudes and behaviours commonly encouraged in the broader professional community. It is signed for every new intern and returned to them.
The Student Service Agreement establishes a partnership between the Centre and your organisation. This does not have to be signed regularly if the expiry date is set as ‘ongoing’, which is the option we recommend. However, you can set the expiry date to be the end of the internship period, if you prefer.
Where can I find more information about previous organisations’ experiences of hosting interns?
You can read about a whole range of internship experiences, hearing from both students and organisations, in our news.
Are there are other internship programs available at UWA?
Internships of this kind are only hosted through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, however if your organisation is interested in exploring UWA’s Work Integrated Learning programs, please visit https://www.careers.uwa.edu.au/wil/students#placement