13 July 2011 | Magazine | Guest Author
While an internship is one of the best ways to gain the essential skills needed for the workplace, it is vital that graduates embarking on an internship or work placement scheme are aware of the logistics involved - as there are certain formalities that should always be followed.
It's critical when you embark on a work placement that you have some idea of what to expect. In terms of remuneration, the NCWE recommend employers pay the minimum wage. Don't be afraid to ask. Remember work experience is a two-way street and you are helping the company as well as boosting your own CV.
The length of the placement is also important - while all experience is valuable and will help give you necessary skills and insight - a longer period will give you a better chance of understanding the company and getting involved. Make sure you set out from the beginning your ideal placement length and let the employer know exactly when you are available, particularly if you have holiday coming up that might interrupt a longer spell.
In terms of formalities, you should receive a letter that sets out what you'll be asked to do. Take responsibility - if you don't receive a letter - ask for one. Think twice about accepting an opportunity without one.
Once you start, there should be an induction, including advice on health and safety matters and company culture. This is also the opportune time to set objectives with your line manager.