Recently, we started looking at hiring interns. We are pretty excited about working with some young, fun, motivated students.
But, so far we have been learning some lessons that have been time consuming and frustrating, and therefore they are absolutely worth sharing.
The first really tough thing is that it seems that no-one has published any quick-guide on how to do this. I can only guess it's because there are concerns about the "giving of advice" - but really, this is just such a barrier in terms of cost and time for small businesses. C'mon government - give us a cheat sheet!! Anyway, here's a bit of a recap of our experience to date so that if you have to do this, you'll have a few handles to get you started more smoothly and quickly!
The Fair Work Act calls an internship a "Vocational Placement" so don't search the term "Internship" - you won't find a thing that's relevant to you what you're really looking for.
Section 12 defines Vocational Training as a placement that is:
(a) undertaken with an employer for which a person is not entitled to be paid any remuneration; and
(b) undertaken as a requirement of an education or training course; and
(c) authorised under a law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.
So this seems pretty simple, right? Well, what really got me hung up was (c) - how do I know if my taking on of an intern is authorised? and, after 3 hours on the phone with the guys who wrote this - it seems like no-one else knows either, and I'm the first person to ask the question. Yikes. I'm currently waiting for a call back that was promised 6 weeks ago now. I suspect that they're just making sure that they have a thorough response?? :S My guess here is that this is the responsibility of the educational/training institution. I'll post back if/when I hear more on this.
Other things on our radar have been:
- Defining the scope of work: using the resource as best possible and making sure that your intern gets the experience that they have signed up for.
- Confidentiality agreement: protect your assets. Simple, but necessary.
Have you hired an intern? Did you run into any of the problems above? How did you manage them?