Internship instructions

1. Finding an internship placement

Reserve time for looking for an internship placement. When searching it, use different methods and multiple information sources and services. You may find a suitable place in a company, state administration, a municipality or in a non-governmental organisation. Many such vacancies are not advertised publicly but can be heard about through friends or various networks. Keep in mind that the work tasks should be related to your studies and match with your education. The internship must also be accepted by the supervisor of your department.

Make you own competencies visible

It is important that you are able to recognise and present your competencies to the employer. The learning objectives of different study programmes indicate what kind of skills and knowledge can be expected from a student after a given study module. However, people have many competencies that are best explained by one’s own words. In describing your competencies, you can draw on these documents, for example:

  • Your CV
  • Learning portfolio
  • Diploma work or graduate thesis
  • Study register excerpt
  • Own webpages
  • Employer statements on your prior work experience
  • Personal references.

The Career Services personnel can advise you on how to prepare a CV and an application for internship. If you are seeking internship in Europe, it is advisable to familiarise yourself also with the Europass Curriculum Vitae (CV). Various social media applications, such as LinkedIn, provide a wide range of useful tools and networks for job seeking and for establishing contacts. 

Be active in the market

Do not keep waiting! Once your competencies are well documented, it is time to act. Make yourself positively visible by the means of employers’ online services and meetings. It pays to be prepared and a successful interview helps in leaving a positive impression that is also remembered.

2. Employment relationship issues

Pay for the internship period

The pay an intern receives may consist of a subsidy from the department and the employer’s share, or only either of these. In some study programmes (e.g. for subject teacher students) the practical training periods are usually unpaid, whereas in some other fields a pay is considered an established practice. Pay for internship is taxable income to the student, so its possible effects on the student benefits should be taken into account. You can get student housing supplement only if you live in a rented flat during the internship. For more detailed information, see http://www.kela.fi/web/en/students

Departmental subsidy

Most JYU departments have budget funding determined by the faculty and allocated for subsidising internships in Finland and abroad. Annually about 250 students are granted an internship subsidy. However, these funds are not necessarily sufficient for subsidised internships for all applicants. For some internship vacancies, the departmental subsidy may be a necessary prerequisite. Familiarise yourself with your subject-specific information sources and contact the internship coordinator well in time in the autumn so as to find out the practical arrangements at your department (application procedures, amount of subsidy, etc.). Most often the application period is in January/February, but in some departments the subsidies can be applied for in November/December already.

Find out the internship coordinator of your own department.

Pay by the employer

In many cases, especially when the internship is obtained independently, the employer and the intern agree about the salary between themselves. Career Services recommends that the salary be at least the sum that meets the KELA criterion for employment (€1,189/month in 2018).

Unpaid internships

In general, unpaid internships are not recommended. Without an employment relationship, the intern is not protected by work legislation and collective agreements. You should therefore consider carefully whether the internship place is so good that it is worth accepting without pay.

Internship responsibilities and contracts

Negotiate the content and practices of the internship as specifically as possible with your department and the employer before the internship period. Internships belonging to university studies have three involved parties, each contributing to the overall successfulness of the effort. Each party also have certain rights and responsibilities.

Responsibilities of the University

The University and its units are subject to internship-related legislation and the Degree Regulations.

The Degree Regulations of the University of Jyväskylä (section 33) stipulates:

The curricula of faculties shall be prepared so that bachelor’s and master’s studies include the possibility for a supervised internship as a compulsory or optional part of the studies. The internship may be completed either in Finland or abroad. The internship supervisor sees to it that an internship agreement is prepared and signed. The supervisor shall ensure the parties understand that the internship is an important part of studies.

The employer’s responsibilities

In a paid internship, the student has a fixed-term employment relationship, for which a written employment contract shall be made with the employer. The terms of the employment relationship are determined on the basis of work legislation, applicable collective agreements and the employment contract. Contract templates are available, for example, on various trade union websites. The employment contract must state:

  • the contracting parties,
  • the start date of the employment relationship,
  • the duration and justification of the fixed-term contract,
  • the place of working,
  • the employee’s principal duties,
  • the applicable collective agreement,
  • the pay, other remuneration and the pay period,
  • the regular working hours,
  • provisions on annual holiday,
  • the period of notice,
  • holiday pay,
  • pay during illness,
  • training,
  • travel costs, pay during travel, and
  • insurance.

See also Occupational safety and health administration. Employment contract

On the termination of the internship, the student is entitled to receive a certificate of employment stating:

  • the employer of the internship,
  • the intern’s work duties, and
  • the internship period.

These certificates are not always given automatically, and the law says that the employee needs to request it from the employer. In addition, upon the employee’s specific request, the certificate shall include both a rating of the employee’s working skills and behaviour, and the reason for the termination of the employment relationship, or only either of these.

When the intern is in an employment relationship, also the employee obligations stated in the Employment Contracts Act must be kept in mind.

  • An employee’s main responsibility in the employment relationship is to perform assigned work tasks. As a rule, the employee must obey the employer’s work-related orders.
  • Employees shall avoid everything that conflicts with the actions reasonably required of employees in their position. The employment parties shall also otherwise take each other’s interests into account.
  • Employees shall not do work for another party or engage in such activity that would, taking the nature of the work and the individual employee's position into account, cause harm to their employer as a competing activity contrary to fair employment practices. An employee may do other paid work if the employer has given consent for it, or being aware of this other job, has not denied it.
  • During the term of employment, the employee may not disclose to third parties the employer's trade or business secrets. (Familiarise yourself with the Employment Contracts Act.)

Student’s insurance during internship

In paid internships, the student has, based on the employment contract, a legally obliged insurance for accidents. This insurance is valid at work and work-induced conditions and when the employee is performing tasks for the employer. Also regular journeys between home and work are covered by the insurance.

Although the legally obliged accident insurance is valid all over the world, it is recommended that a travel insurance be taken for added security for travels abroad. The obligatory accident insurance does not cover the employee’s free time during work travels, for instance, at the hotel in the evening.

In unpaid internship, the student is covered by the University’s accident insurance, providing that the student receives study credits for the internship.

3. Reporting and assessment

Goal-oriented internship

If you wish to make sure that you will gain the most from your internship in terms of versatile learning, familiarise yourself with the field-specific practices as well as learning and career opportunities, take a look at internship guides available, and clarify your aims: be conscious of what you have to offer and what you can expect from the collaboration.

On the Aarresaari.net website there is a guide called Laadukas harjoittelu (Internship of high quality), which helps you with

  • charting of competences,
  • goal setting,
  • action planning, and
  • recording of achievements.

 
Internship report

The internship activities are to be reported to your own department’s internship supervisor during or after the internship period. Usually it is hoped that the report would describe one’s competencies and learning as well as the tasks, experiences and place of the internship. The recommended lengths for the internship report range from one to twenty A4 pages.