The Institute of Conservation organises paid internships with funding from the HLF: Jessica Burges learns conservation techniques in a Bristol studio

MA publishes guidelines for internships

Patrick Steel, 16.04.2012
Checklist to help museums and interns
The Museums Association has published guidelines on internships, designed to help museums to develop meaningful internships and potential interns to identify appropriate positions.

Drawing on best practice developed by Renaissance London and the Mayor of London, Arts Council England and Creative and Cultural Skills, and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the guidelines identify six areas of practice that should be met, including length of internship, planning and structuring internships, and payment of reasonable work expenses.

These ensure that internships are structured and that both employer and intern are aware of their obligations.

Charlotte Holmes, the MA’s museum development officer, said: “We are being approached by an increasing number of people struggling to find posts in the sector, and hearing worrying stories of people being exploited.

“These guidelines are to help individuals work towards their first job and to identify appropriate internships to support their learning and development.

“We hope the guidelines will also be useful to employers, providing a useful steer on developing meaningful internships.”

To see the full guidelines, please click here


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Charlotte, Museum Development Officer, Museums Association
MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
24.04.2012, 17:06
It’s important that museums adhere to legislation. The Arts Council's guide (which is a really helpful and in-depth document) offers a useful steer on this.

The MA has taken the decision not to advertise any internship that does not meet our guidelines.

In some cases internships are unpaid, in which case expenses should be provided.
MA Member
20.04.2012, 15:36
Your guidelines seem to conflict with the Arts Council's 'Internships in the Arts' guide.

You state that employers offering internships should: "Pay reasonable work-related expenses and give interns reasonable access to staff benefits (such as free tickets to exhibitions or events)."

The Arts Council advises that "...the majority of interns...would most likely be classified as a ‘worker’ for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and its associated regulations."

As such, the majority of interns should receive the minimum wage, where they have a specific role and formal duties.

Please could you clarify if you agree with the Arts Council’s guidance?