Guidelines for Student and Graduate Placements and Internships

12 Jun 2014 Alex Hastings    Last updated: 10 Jul 2014

This article outlines what you need to consider when hosting student or graduate placements or internships.

NICVA welcomes student, graduate and developmental placements and will do its best to ensure that the time individuals spend with NICVA is worthwhile and fulfilling. The placements aim to provide individuals with the opportunity to practise and develop skills relating to community development work.

Student placements

Arranging a placement

Placements can be accepted when:

  • A line manager from NICVA is available.
  • The student is attending a course recognised by NICVA.

If a placement is proposed, the Human Resources Manager will discuss and agree the proposed placement arrangements with the relevant line manager and Union. When the placement has been agreed, all NICVA staff will be notified.

Before the beginning of the placement, an induction visit will be arranged between the student and the appointed line manager(s) to discuss the student’s tasks and the requirements expected of both line manager(s) and student.

Duration of placement

The length of a placement will be negotiated and agreed in advance of its commencement date by NICVA and the student's college.

Line manager’s responsibilities

The line manager will normally be the line manager of the Unit in which the student is placed. The line manager will arrange a supervision session at least once per week with the student. The line manager will attend any three way meetings between student, line manager and fieldwork teacher, required by the course.

The line manager may be expected to write a report or feedback to the course tutor or placement provider on the student's progress and performance at the end of the placement. The student will have an opportunity to comment on the line manager's draft report. Ongoing daily supervision may be delegated to another appropriate member of staff. Such supervision should include the following elements:

  1. An ongoing examination and appraisal of the student's practical work and forthcoming plans and objectives.
  2. Support and encouragement of the student's work.
  3. Facilitating the development of the student's practical skills.
  4. An examination of the student's style, personal approaches and practical strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Assisting the student to recognise the general community work/youth work principles that arise from their practice.

Placement’s responsibilities

The placement is accountable to NICVA, and is expected to work the agreed hours during the placement period and to be available for a reasonable amount of agreed evening and weekend work. The placement may be required by the college or placement provider to work a particular number of hours. If this is the case time off in lieu will be taken on the same basis as NICVA staff members.

The student will be guided by their line manager on maintaining confidentiality as a result of work. Students are not permitted to comment to media on their work, without express permission from their line manager.

Whilst working with NICVA, the student will be covered by NICVA’s Employers and Public Liability Insurance.

Student placements are unpaid; however NICVA will liaise with the placing institution regarding payment of expenses incurred by the student.

The student will be allowed at least one hour per day for personal recording purposes, ie daily log, meetings attended. Such recording may be discussed with the line manager as part of the supervision process.

The student is required to make a brief written report to their line manager at the end of the placement. The report should include a summary of placement work and suggestions (if relevant) regarding the contribution of work undertaken within placement.

Graduation placements or internships

When a vacancy or project arises which NICVA deems a graduate opportunity, a placement will be recruited.

If a graduate placement is required it will be advertised by contacting the relevant universities and colleges. Graduate placement opportunities will not be targeted exclusively to recent graduates; the placement will also be advertised on NICVA’s website and as widely as practicable to avoid any danger of indirect age discrimination.

Graduate Placements will be entitled to and will work under the same terms and conditions as other staff with the exception to entitlement to the pension and salary scheme (Staff Handbook will apply). The placement will be remunerated at a fixed salary for the duration of the placement and will not be entitled to join the pension scheme, unless the placement is extended beyond a year. The placement will be subject to a probationary period of three months. At the end of the placement period the Graduate Placement will be dismissed fairly for “some other substantive reason”. The HR Manager will meet with the placement to discuss the ending of the contract, allowing accompaniment. The Graduate Placement will be given appropriate notice in writing and offered the right to appeal the dismissal at the end of the placement period.

Employment of a placement

Should a suitable vacancy arise within NICVA, the placement will apply via the usual channels for external candidates. A placement is considered a developmental position, and as such the postholder will be expected to complete a suitable probationary period for the new post, of not more than six months, the term of which will be agreed by the Chief Executive. Furthermore, if the new post constitutes a new grade, the postholder will be required to have reached six months service at this grade by 1 April to qualify for an increment. Continuity of employment will be retained for the purposes of all entitlements including pension and annual leave entitlement and the postholder will be entitled to join the pension scheme immediately on commencement of their contract.


We share NICVA’s policies to assist organisations in drafting their own. However, our policies are relevant to NICVA and are not samples. They should not be replicated, but may be used for reference purposes, in conjunction with other guidance available. NICVA cannot accept any claims arising from error or misinterpretation.'s picture
by Alex Hastings

Human Resources Manager

[email protected]

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