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Is archaeology using interns and is this and acceptable practice?
You can't claim benefits if you are working for more than 16 hours a week. You would probably be able to get local housing allowance(housing benefit) but that still leaves bills, food and transport to sort out.

Quote:isn't there some dodgy deal that companies providing internships can do with the benefits agencies so that interns are still entitled to benefits?

Quite a few companies are taking advantage of the new workfair scheme to employ people full time with the state paying them job seekers allowance. The placements are compulsory and so are pretty much one step above indentured servitude. Not the sort of thing that is acceptable tbh.
This is definitely an area for concern as the pay and conditions are poor enough without adding another level of those who are even worse off!

When I starting digging ten years ago I got a job as a site assistant with only my university excavation experience, no commercial experience at all and this was the same for those of my friends who went into digging. And we were paid the BAJR wage for a site assistant. Then a few years later there seemed to be a new grade of trainee introduced for those with less than 6months commercial digging experience which was lower than my starting wage had been years before.... and now this!

Do we want archaeology to be a profession where new starters are expected to volunteer for an unspecified time period before entering a badly paid unstable job? The BAJR/IFA minimum wages are there for a reason so how can no pay be a way to get around this!!!!!

Volunteering for a charity or community group is one thing - I do it myself - but for a commercial unit! It is very short sighted of those who take these positions - if you take this job for no pay what is the incentive for the position to be made paid. Think on you are making things worse not only for yourself but for everyone coming after you
And the charitable status of a number of the trusts is questionable in terms of volunteering. In Wales all of the four Trusts have a commercial archaeological unit so volunteering with these is volunteering for a commercial unit not a charity!
Trouble is new graduates are so desperate for the work experience they will take these internships. It is up to those who purport to monitor the profession to stand up against this. Those of you working for companies who are doing this need to make your feelings known to the bosses. Stuff the argument that they cannot afford to pay trainees if they have enough work available to give a trainee a position then they can afford to pay them something.

I suppose a reasonable approach might be to have interns who work less than the 16 hours so can claim job seekers
From Direct Gov:

Some placements are paid, others are not. Whether you?re entitled to payment will depend on what you actually do for the organisation - not what your role is called. If you are performing as a worker, you must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. The exception to this is if your placement is part of a further or higher education course and lasts up to one year.
If you are taken on as a volunteer, you?re unlikely to receive payment.
Even if your placement is unpaid, it?s worth asking whether the organisation could cover your expenses, such as daily travel costs."

Unfortunately there are so many graduates out there who are willing to be exploited because they hope it will give them an advantage later on.

On an anecdotal note, a friend of mine with several years commercial digging experience recently sent a speculative application to an established archaeology unit only to be told there were no positions available but they would be willing to offer him unpaid voluntary work.
I think that now would be an appropriate time to find out which companies are using volunteers and what volunteers are being asked to do
Ferris Wrote:On an anecdotal note, a friend of mine with several years commercial digging experience recently sent a speculative application to an established archaeology unit only to be told there were no positions available but they would be willing to offer him unpaid voluntary work.

Well that is my career come full circle....back in 1980 I responded to an article in a well known regional newspaper about the desperate shortage of archaeologists on a particular archaeological project where time was also fast running out...I turned up on the site the next day unannounced and offered my services. The broad scope of my interview went along the lines 'Are you signing on? - Yes' 'OK well we won't tell the dole you are working here AND we we can let you have the morning, off the day you have to sign on'... I 'failed' the interview.... (ended up working as a kitchen porter in the canteen of a well known but now defunct national newspaper).

I notice in todays papers, that popular pressure seems to be working against the Workfare scheme the Tories are promoting through the likes of Tescos and other hard-up (!!) employers. Lets hope archaeology remains equally resolute against 'Workfare in the Trenches'...
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
I think theres still a distinction to be made between volunteers and internships. An internship is a position created by the company and presumably is of benefit to them, ie cheap labour to do basic tasks be it archaeology or admin. It also comes with the expectations that you'll turn up every day etc etc or lose the post and so technically makes you inelegible for the dole.

A volunteer on the other hand I would regard as someone who approaches a company and, well, volunteers... with no expectation as such of a future job, money or structured training. While the company may benefit (although in my experience its a zero sum affair - the time taken out to look after a volunteer equalling the work they do) its ad hoc, not something the unit can plan or rely on and the volunteer is completely free to sign on, or just not turn up.

Many years ago volunteering with my local unit was how I got started. But volunteering was wholly my choice - if nothing else it was quite fun and gave me something to do while I was claiming dole in between the horrible temp jobs forced on me by the job centre. At no point did I ever feel exploited and I'd do the same now - but I doubt I'd apply for an internship.
...The IfA has had a policy on volunteering for many years - basically volunteers are fine providing they are not replacement or substitute for paid workers (although I have never understood quite how that works in practice, if for example they are washing, cataloguing or processing 'backlog' finds or samples). It doesn't at present have a specific policy on interns, although members are beholden to obey the laws of the land and if, as has been pointed out, it is illegal not to pay interns at least the minimum wage, that by default is the IfA policy.

If anyone believes that a member of the IfA or an RAO (by corporate policy) is breaking the code of conduct of the IfA they have the right to report that individual or RAO....I guess it remains to be seen whether that will happen in this instance....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
I started as a volunteer, one day a week, as I could live on the money I earned as a temp for the rest of the week. Eventually I was taken on very short (one week at a time) contracts and finally full-time. I was culled in 2008 and now work outside archaeology as I needed to eat.

Archaeology as an industry is often behind the rest of the commercial world. This is probably because units are run by archaeologists who pick up commercial ideas from outside, they usually deal with builders/developers or local authorities who are also slow to react to changes in workplace practice. The idea of interns is very unpopular with the public and has been dropped by commercial companies who care about their publicity. See today's news about a Tesco Express having to close down because a JobCentre mistakenly posted an advert which seemed to suggest they were offering a job on Job Seeker's Allowance plus expenses. Tesco immediately jumped in to say this was definitely not their policy. Archaeology units don't have to face the public commercially on a daily basis like Tesco so perhaps feel they can take on interns, full-time volunteers, whatever they want to call them. However, they should think carefully about their public persona if this type of practice comes out in public.

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