Internship Employment Guidelines
Thank you for hiring a Western Intern! Below is more information that will ensure both employers and students experience a positive work term.
Orientation and Job Training
You, as the employer, are responsible for ensuring all interns have received and understand the employer’s health and safety policies and procedures, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario. In addition, the appropriate health and safety training must be provided prior to the start of the internship work term. You are also responsible for following and making interns aware of Bill 168 regarding harassment and violence in the workplace.
For many students, starting an internship work term can be intimidating, regardless of their level of experience. It is recommended that your company take students through an orientation process that will provide them with an opportunity to learn about your organization (perhaps a tour), become more familiar with their own work location, and meet their supervisors. A social activity for all new intern hires can put students in touch with each other and provide networking opportunities.
You, as the employer, will provide adequate training to ensure that interns develop the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill the expectations of their role.
An internship placement should offer the student relevant, degree-related experience over the course of the work term. Interns should feel challenged and be able to reference their academic training during the performance of their job. The work environment should provide initiative and encouragement. The student should be treated as a regular employee and given autonomy to work on projects, and to report back to the project supervisor. Interns should be encouraged to provide input and recommendations.
For many students, an internship is their first degree-related job. In order for interns to remain motivated and productive, feedback on their performance is important. This is especially critical if their work habits need modifying in order to achieve success. We encourage you to provide this feedback regularly, and to be available to answer questions and to provide guidance, especially in the earliest part of the work term.
You, as the employer, are to provide interns with an initial written evaluation taking into consideration their level of experience and time on the job. You are encouraged to review the written evaluation with the intern, so that discussion and clarification can occur. It is particularly important that the intern understand his/her strengths and areas requiring improvement. The intern should have an opportunity to reflect and to comment. Some interns are required to submit their interim evaluations to their respective faculty coordinator.
You, as the employer, are to provide a final evaluation at the end of the work term. It is important not only to give feedback to the intern, but also to assess improvements in performance and success in meeting objectives. As with the interim evaluation, it is preferable that the final evaluation be reviewed directly with the intern. All students are required to submit their final evaluations to their respective faculty coordinator.
Although most work terms are successfully completed, difficulties can occur in some instances. Western is fully committed to the success of these experiences as they provide meaningful hands-on learning for students and, in many cases, a course credit.
In cases where the student is experiencing difficulty performing at a satisfactory level, it is imperative that the appropriate Faculty Coordinator is involved. We will assist in finding resolutions to these situations through communications and improvement action plans. If you have an internal process in place please notify us. If you do not have formal process in place, we recommend the following procedures:
- The employer will meet with the student and clearly outline the identified problem. A dated, written summary of the discussion and the course of action will be forwarded to the appropriate Faculty Coordinator and will be reviewed in 30 days for progress.
- If the student continues to experience difficulty after the 30 days, the employer shall inform the appropriate Faculty Coordinator, who will contact both the student and the employer to:
- Review and clarify the problem
- Suggest recommendations toward a successful resolution. The recommendations may involve such alternatives as a change in work setting for the student, continuation of the work term with agreed upon specific tasks and dates for completion, withdrawal from the work term, or other agreed upon solutions.
- Review and clarify the problem
In all cases, the appropriate Faculty Coordinator must be notified prior to termination of employment due to performance issues so that supports can be put in place for the student.
Western strongly encourages that employers recognize guidelines outlined in the Employment Standards Act and other relevant Federal and Provincial employment legislation for all work terms.
Expectations and Best Practices:
- Provide a safe and respectful workplace
- Provide work related to the posted job description including relevant, degree-related projects
- Provide accurate and complete information on job responsibilities, compensation, and benefits
- Provide a thorough workplace orientation, including necessary Health and Safety training
- Integrate the student into the team as a regular, valued employee
- Work with student to develop goals and learning outcomes that can be monitored over the duration of the work term
- Provide the student with relevant training and development opportunities
- Monitor student's progress, and provide formal/informal feedback on a timely basis to both the student and to the institution
Contacts for each of our WIL programs can be found in our WIL Directory.