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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit

CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit March 2012 Edition Created by

Carol Arthur MCIPR and Sally Keith FCIPR

Approved by CIPR diversity working group

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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Table of Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 3 Getting started ...................................................................................................................... 4 Budget and payment ............................................................................................................. 4 Social mobility business compact .......................................................................................... 4 Managing a work placement/internship ................................................................................. 5 Settings objectives and tasks ................................................................................................ 5 Work plan.............................................................................................................................. 5 Evaluation and managing expectations ................................................................................. 6 Training ................................................................................................................................. 6 How to find participants that meet your needs ....................................................................... 6 Terms and conditions ............................................................................................................ 7 Reference and feedback ....................................................................................................... 7 CIPR Code of Conduct.......................................................................................................... 8 Further Information ............................................................................................................... 8 Appendix 1 ............................................................................................................................ 9 Appendix 2 .......................................................................................................................... 12 Appendix 3 .......................................................................................................................... 13

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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Introduction The CIPR is committed to best practice opportunities for those entering the profession. We believe that it is our responsibility to provide future practitioners with a platform from which they can achieve the highest quality of learning and development. We have therefore written this guidance to help members and the wider industry in the corporate world, and in the not for profit sector, to create internships or work experience programmes that allow those considering a career in PR to gain as much practical experience as possible. This document sits alongside the CIPR work placement charter. This toolkit includes information on how to plan a placement, recruit participants, set objectives and evaluate. Legal and CIPR guidance on paying participants is also included. The generic term “placement� is used throughout this toolkit to refer to work carried out by a participant to gain practical experience in a workplace. This term is used to refer to any of the following. Definitions of placements: o

Sandwich placements: a fixed-term period of assessed, paid work that forms part of a degree. It often lasts for a full year

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Work-based project: a specific piece of assessed work for a course, undertaken at an employer's premises

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Work placement: a period of work experience. This can be arranged through a university with an employer or by the student themselves and is for an agreed period of time

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Internship: a phrase that is increasingly used by large organisations and refers to a placement within their organisation, usually over 6-12 weeks during the summer holiday or after finishing education

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Voluntary work: any type of work undertaken for no payment, in spare time

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Part-time work: paid or unpaid work, less than 35 hours per week

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Work shadowing: observing a member of staff working in an organisation, to gain an understanding of what a particular job entails.

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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit

Getting started Firstly organisations should be clear about the reasons why they are offering a placement and have realistic expectations about the level of work that can be achieved and the training and time involved in organising and supervising the participant. Determining the best time to run the placement for both the participant and the organisation should also be considered. Budget and payment To help you decide what type of placement you can offer members should breakdown the time, energy and financial resources that will be needed to develop a placement that suits your organisation and those participating. Payment: â—‹

National Minimum Wage legislation requires employers to pay minimum wage or above for all work placements, unless they fall within the following exemptions: o

Students who are studying on higher education courses at UK universities or colleges if placed with an employer as part of their course. This exemption may be applied for a maximum period of one year.

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Students doing voluntary work for a registered charity and those doing workshadowing.

Members should therefore pay participants National Minimum Wage or above (such as travel or lunch expenses). PR is a popular and therefore highly competitive career for graduates, but this does not mean that employers should take advantage. Employers should be aware that by only offering unpaid internships, not only are they possibly in breach of the law, they may also be denying access to the profession to the highest quality participant who could make a lasting contribution to the organisation. Equality and diversity issues may also need to be considered, particularly those enshrined in law. If there is no budget to pay a participant then the CIPR strongly recommends that applicants are sourced through universities or colleges where placements are a compulsory part of a course. Participants should be reimbursed for expenses covered by them during the placement. Employers should provide information about what expenses can be claimed and how they are paid back. For further information on the National Minimum Wage you may contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline for confidential assistance on 0800 917 2368. Social mobility business compact As part of the Coalition Government’s Social Mobility Strategy, the Social mobility business compact aims to ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of 4


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit the circumstances of their birth. As a signatory of the Business compact, the CIPR advises members to sign the compact as part of a commitment to ensure that public relations professionals who do offer internships are doing so openly and to a high quality. Managing a work placement/internship For a placement to be successful, participants need their activities to be coordinated by a member of staff that has the time and ability to effectively manage and provide constructive feedback on performance. It is essential that participants are managed in the same way as you manage full time members of staff. Settings objectives and tasks The supervisor and the organisation should select goals and objectives for the placement that will benefit both the organisation and the participant and are within their reach. Attention should be paid to any diversity concerns or necessary adjustments. Once the overall objectives are set, the organisation can create a mix of tasks and projects that will allow the participant to meet these objectives. The tasks should allow the participant to develop their knowledge of the organisation and the industry and allow them to practice the skills required to work in that role. To see examples of tasks that could be carried out during a placement see appendix 1. Work plan A framework should be put in place on how to support the participant in accomplishing the tasks that have been set out. The framework should include: Planning how the employee is to be guided through their first day and throughout the placement Carrying out the regular background checks you would usually do for a new employee Conducting a full induction with the participant just like you would with any other new member of staff Drawing their attention to company rules around the use of social media, expenses and other internal policies Setting the hours of work and the duration of the placement. A period of up to three months is suitable in most cases, and if a placement is to be extended much beyond this there should be good reasons and the employer should consider whether they are offering the appropriate remuneration Ensuring the employee is covered by your employer’s liability insurance policy. You should check this before commencement of the placement and ensure the employee knows where they stand 5


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Conducting a risk assessment using relevant guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Identifying what training on any software or equipment is necessary All staff interacting with the placement employee should be aware of when the placement is taking place and how it will be run. Employees should be aware of what they can and cannot ask of the participant Any diversity concerns or necessary adjustments. Evaluation and managing expectations Evaluation of the placement should also be included in your planning. The aim of a placement is to benefit both the organisation and the participant. Positive outcomes should be achieved and good relationships are developed General feedback on the value of the placement, for example whether the student benefited from the experience, whether the organisation was happy with the quality of participant and their knowledge and ability to learn, is vital in accessing its value and for informing decisions regarding future placements If the placement forms part of a course then the university and the employer need to discuss possible methods of feedback or assessment Examples of evaluation questions that can be used during and at the end of a placement can be found in appendix 2. Training Breakfast briefings, evening seminars and webinars can suitably compliment any internship or work placement whilst also providing valuable networking experience opportunities. CIPR Freshly Squeezed Designed as a low-cost solution for practitioners seeking to improve their skills, expand their knowledge, or find out about the latest PR trends and issues, these hour-long briefings provide insights, information and advice to aid career progression for newcomers to the profession. At a cost of ÂŁ20 (+VAT) for CIPR members and ÂŁ30 (+ VAT) to non-members. CIPR Social Summers CIPR's Social Summer series encourage an informal and relaxed atmosphere planned to engage the audience in conversations around the very latest social media tools, strategies and platforms. At a flat rate cost of ÂŁ10 (+ VAT) to both CIPR members and non-members. CIPR Webinars Free to CIPR members, and also available at low-cost to non-members, live training webinars offers insight to some of the PR profession's hottest topics. These informative online sessions last one hour and are fully interactive. Using the latest technology you can submit questions to the trainer, who is seen and heard via video link. Also available on6


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit demand. For more information on training contact the CIPR Training team at training@cipr.co.uk or contact your CIPR Regional Group for information on local training opportunities. How to find participants that meet your needs The basic skills and experience needed by the participant to complete the identified tasks should be agreed on, so the organisation can decide on what type of participant it is looking for. Advertising your placement To find participants, employers should use the same recruitment processes they would use to find a new member of staff. Participants can also be recruited by contacting local schools, colleges and universities. The CIPR work placement finder matches employers throughout the UK and across all sectors with students on CIPR approved courses or members seeking work experience. Individuals offering placements must be CIPR members. For more information, please contact Malcolm White: malcolmw@cipr.co.uk It should also be noted that many PR courses require students to undertake work experience and therefore universities and colleges are always looking for employers they can engage with. If you do decide to offer a placement to a student, the university or college should provide you with information on how many hours a student must work per week and what they will expect from you as an employer. The Government has a Graduate Talent Pool website which allows employers to connect with graduates by advertising their internships. Interview Any interviews should be conducted following the company’s usual interview procedures, so the participants can experience the processes and demands involved in interviewing. Terms and Conditions The CIPR advises that an agreement setting out the agreed terms and conditions of the placement is signed by both the participant and the employer prior to the placement taking place. An example of a terms and conditions agreement can be found in appendix 3 and on the CIPR website. Reference and Feedback Exit interview When the placement comes to an end, an exit interview should be held so you can gain information on how the placement could be improved and insight on what the participant learnt. Reference 7


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit A reference letter should be provided to a participant on finishing their internship. The letter should contain information on what skills they have attained and what was achieved during the placement. It can be made up from the information provided during the feedback and exit interview. Portfolio During their placement, participants might also be encouraged to start a portfolio based on the different campaigns or projects they are involved in. This could include evidence of writing, such as published articles, press releases, or photos. CIPR Code of Conduct These best practice guidelines are designed as a point of reference for practitioners who want to offer work experience to those wishing to enter the profession. Whilst these guidelines do not constitute a legal document, all CIPR members are bound by the Code of Conduct which is based around three principles: integrity, competence, and confidentiality. The Code of Conduct should be adhered to when engaging in any public relations practice and there are elements within the Code's principles which are particularly relevant to providing placements. Since 2010, the CIPR Code of Conduct stipulates that members can be held accountable for the actions of subordinates or sub-contractors for whom they are responsible in relation to work that has been complained about. Members should bear in mind that failure to adhere to the CIPR Code of Conduct could lead to disciplinary action, with sanctions up to, and including, expulsion from the CIPR. This document is intended as a statement of best practice – not as an addition to the Code. Further Information CIPR Code of Conduct CIPR Work Placement Charter CIPR Training and Qualifications Graduate Talent Pool Directgov guidance on Graduate placements and internships Directgov guidance on employability for BAME students and graduates Prospects Businesslink Public Relations Consultants Association Internship Scheme Training Public Relations Consultants Association list of approved agencies that pay National Minimum Wage Social mobility business compact Work Rights Helpline (0800 917 2368) 8


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Appendix 1 Suggested roles for interns – with thanks to Leeds Metropolitan University Graduates Research Projects Graduates can be employed to undertake large resource-intensive projects. Such as research for a lobbying campaign or to work on producing planning reports to be used in long term campaigns. Media Relations Assisting with press briefings / conferences Arranging one to one journalist briefings Making contact with journalists Writing press releases / feature articles Answering press enquiries Arranging photocalls Researching media lists Preparing, producing and distributing press releases Employee relations Assisting with in-house journal / employee report and accounts Arranging / attending employee conferences / briefings Undertaking attitude surveys Creating noticeboard material Helping with electronic communications, eg e-mail, video, radio etc Publications Research, writing, production, distribution Event Management Helping to organise events Providing reception at events and exhibitions Specialist PR (under supervision) Corporate Financial Healthcare Social media Public Affairs Community Liaison Product (marketing communications) 9


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Client and consultancy liaison Assisting account team Students at university Media Relations Assisting with press briefings / conferences Arranging one to one journalist briefings Making contact with journalists Writing press releases / feature articles Answering press enquiries Arranging photocalls Researching media lists Preparing, producing and distributing press releases Employee relations Assisting with in-house journal / employee report and accounts Arranging / attending employee conferences / briefings Undertaking attitude surveys Creating noticeboard material Helping with electronic communications, eg e-mail, video, radio etc Publications Research, writing, production, distribution Event Management Helping to organise events Providing reception at events and exhibitions Specialist PR (under supervision) Corporate Financial Public Affairs Healthcare Social media Community Liaison Product (marketing communications) Client and consultancy liaison Assisting account team 10


CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit College or school student Answering phone Drafting press releases Creating a roundup of the daily news headlines, Updating information to the website, Assisting with research needs. Providing support to the rest of the communications team

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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Appendix 2 – with thanks to Leeds Metropolitan University Examples of feedback questions to be used when evaluating an intern’s work. Intern’s/ placement’s name: Supervisor’s name: Suggested questions About the participant What degree of interest does the intern/ placement show in the work? How successful is the interns in adjusting to the work environment? How do you rate the interns oral communications skills (speech)? How do you rate the interns writing skills? How do you rate the interns organisational and workload management skills? What is the interns attitude towards feedback? What is the interns attendance record? Does the intern have good attention to detail? About the placement Did you enjoy the placement? What skills did you learn? What were the biggest challenges? What have you learnt about yourself from the internship? How could the placement be improved?

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CIPR Internship and work placement toolkit Appendix 3 – with thanks to Northern Lights PR TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT NAME : JOB TITLE: The following give details as to what insert company name expects from you in your x week internship – and what you can expect from us. We will be fair and help you. You are a employee and we expect you to work as a responsible member of our team. Participation in this internship does not guarantee future work; it is purely a training opportunity to provide the successful candidates with the skills to pursue future employment opportunities in PR. You will start work on Date, Month, Year and will receive a training allowance of the national minimum wage of a X .year old of £ X per week, less National Insurance contributions, for X weeks. Your working hours are X am to X pm with one hour for lunch (time to be decided by the employer). On occasions if you are working on a major project it would be helpful if you could stay late until this is finished You should report any injuries suffered at work immediately to X. We respect students as a member of our team and in return we expect you to act as a responsible member of staff. For example, please keep time off due to sickness to a minimum. If you do need to take time off please speak to someone before X am if you will not be in the office on that day (don’t just leave a message) – the answer machine has out of office hours contact telephone numbers. You will in the course of your employment learn of client confidential information. It is a condition of your employment that you must not discuss this information outside of insert company name, except for essential client work. It is also a condition that you should not use this information after employment has terminated, for a period of one year from the date of termination. As an example only, the types of information which are considered confidential are: o client marketing and public relations plans o client lists of names and addresses o client costs and charges . SIGNED

SIGNED

DATE

DATE

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CIPR Internship and Work Placement toolkit [Final Version]