Safe internship guide

Personal security when arranging and participating in work experience and intern placements should be treated in pretty much the same way as any other kind of educational, work or social activity. Mostly it’s about using common sense and taking reasonable precautions. Please read the following guide – you might get some additional ideas to help you stay safe and secure.

Sign-up and listing on myInternSwap

Your email address
For registration on the website, it’s safe and secure to use whatever work or personal email address is most convenient for you. This doesn’t appear in the public listing and is never sent by myInternSwap to another member.

Public name
You can choose any public name that you’d like to appear on the website. If you don’t want to use your full name or are concerned it might easily identify you, use your first name only, initials, another abbreviated form or just make up a friendly name.

Name of company or organisation
This is optional. If you don’t want your company or organisation name to appear in the public listing, or if you are concerned that the name might identify you personally, just leave that field blank.

Locations (for your offer and request)
The location you give for your offer and request only have to be a city, town or district. For security and privacy never put your street name, building or postcode/zipcode in the location fields.

Name of school, college or university
Just like the company name this is optional. If you are concerned about privacy or identification and don’t want the name of your school to appear in the public listing simply leave that field blank.

Use our in-site messaging for initial contact

Always use the in-site messaging to communicate with other members and find out more about their offer and request. You can exchange as many messages as you like. Remember, clicking the ‘I’m interested’ button never obliges you to exchange contact details or to swap internships, so don't feel pressured, regardless of how much in-site communication you've had. Only swap personal contact details if and when you feel ready to.

Direct contact with other members

If you do decide to get in touch off-site, it’s good practice to start with a mobile number or a generic email address (like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail), especially if you are not ready to share your work email address or landline phone number.

Ready to arrange the internship swap?

Once you’re ready to do this, both members (and where appropriate also the parent/s) should exchange real information. The person, company or organisation offering the placement should be fully identified including address, landline phone number and the department/position of the person organising the place. The student’s name and other relevant information can be given. We recommend that the students home address is NOT given, and if some other verification is required use a school address or the work address of parents.

Before the internship

It’s good practice to exchange information before the internship or work experience placement takes place, so everyone knows what will happen and there’s less to think about or ask on the first day.

From the student, information to send to the person arranging the internship should include:

  • confirmation that they will be 16 or older during the internship (a requirement for a placement arranged through myInternSwap). Don’t email or send sensitive documents like passports or ID cards – if requested, take them with you on your first day
  • family contact information for emergencies, two options if possible
  • details of any medical conditions, allergies, etc. which the company or organisation might need to know
  • relevant information about your education, skills and interests.

From the person offering the internship, the information to send to the student should include:
• details of any workplace health, safety or other policies that the student should be aware of
• confirmation that the place of work is covered by appropriate insurance
• a summary of what tasks the student might be involved in
• what time to arrive and leave
• times for breaks, lunch, etc.
• is there a dress code or any equipment to bring
• details of food, drink – i.e. is there a place to eat at work, local places to find food or whether the student needs to bring packed lunch.

As well as the above safety tips, where possible we recommend a face-to-face meeting at the place of work between the student and person offering the placement – prior to the internship taking place. For young students, especially those under 18, its a good idea to be accompanied by a parent or other adult known to them. For any student going to a meeting on their own, always tell your parents, school or at least a friend where you are going and who you are meeting.

First day of the internship

If you haven’t already meet face-to-face, for young students, especially those under 18, a parent or other adult known to them should accompany them and make contact with the person organising the internship. Students should have some ID to prove they are 16 or over (a requirement for a placement arranged through myInternSwap).

The student should be told of any particular safety policy or features of the workplace which were not part of the written information previously sent – or familiarised with anything particularly important that had been sent before.

Internship not going well?

Most work experience or internships should be a helpful and rewarding experience for the student and the individual, company or organisation hosting them. However, an important part of internships is ‘checking-out’ different work types and places, and so it doesn’t always work out. Don’t be shy! If either party feel it’s not going well, just say so. Maybe something can be changed to make it better. Or maybe it’s just not right and you can agree to cut short the placement. Even if this happens don’t worry – it’s all part of the process and sometimes a ‘not so good’ placement can be a help in working out what you don’t want to do.

After the internship

It’s a valuable addition to a student’s CV, and to add to personal statements to get a referral letter or similar document to say the they have completed an internship and how they did. Students should ask for this at the end of their placement.

Reporting site misuse

myInternSwap takes your safety seriously and we monitor the website for scams and unusual member behaviour. Please help us by reporting any listings, offers or messages from other members that you think are suspicious to team@myInternSwap.com