Internship Charter – code of practice from CIPD

Updated: 28 June 2010
Added: 30 October 2009

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has developed a Charter which offers a code of practice on good management practice in order to make the internship as successful as possible.  W4MP supports this code of practice and we recommend it to all those involved in offering and taking part in internships.

If you are looking at this page because you are considering submitting an ad
for an internship on W4MP you may wish to revise the wording of your proposed ad
to reflect this advice, before proceeding to submit the ad.

The CIPD is the UK’s leading professional body involved in the management and development of people. Even though organisations benefit from internships, their prime purpose is to provide interns with meaningful work experience that enhances their employability and skills. Ideally an intern should be paid a salary reflecting the contribution they make to the organisation, and at least receive the minimum wage (or London living wage where applicable). This being said, we feel that the quality of the experience for the intern is the most important factor.

The CIPD recommends that organisations offering internships should adhere to a voluntary code of practice – The Internship Charter – the six principles of which are set out below to ensure this is what, in practice, internships provide:

  1. Recruitment – Interns should be recruited in broadly the same way as regular employees of an organisation, with proper consideration given to how their skills and qualifications fit with the tasks they will be expected to fulfil. Recruitment should be conducted in an open and rigorous way to enable fair and equal access to available internships. The job advertisement should give a clear indication of how long the internship will last, and at interview, the intern should be told honestly whether there is a real chance of obtaining a full-time contract.
  2. Induction – Interns should receive a proper induction to the organisation they enter to allow them to fully integrate. Whether joining a large organisation, or an SME, an Intern just entering the job market may find the workplace intimidating. It is important to introduce an intern to the staff and the values of the organisation to help them integrate into the team, and allow them to hit the ground running.
  3. Supervision – Organisations should ensure there is a dedicated person(s) who has ring-fenced time in their work schedule 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 internship, and conduct a formal performance review to evaluate the success of their time with the organisation.
  4. Treatment – During their time with an organisation interns should be treated with exactly the same degree of professionalism and duty of care as regular employees. They should not be seen as ‘visitors’ to the organisation, or automatically assigned routine tasks that do not make use of their skills. Organisations should make some allowance for interns to, on occasion, attend job interviews or complete study requirements.
  5. Payment and Duration – As a bare minimum the organisation should cover any necessary work-related expenses incurred by the intern. This includes travel to and from work, and any travel costs incurred whilst attending external meetings/events. If an internship is unpaid and provides only expenses, then the internship should be no longer than four months.
  6. Certification/Reference and Feedback – On completion of their internship organisations should provide interns with a certificate/reference letter detailing the work they have undertaken, the skills and experience acquired, and the content of the formal performance review conducted at the end of the internship. Interns should also be offered the opportunity to give feedback on their experience in an ‘exit interview’, giving organisations the opportunity to reflect on its own performance in delivering internships.


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