Workplace safety an internship concern

Workplace harrassment issues get renewed attention in wake of Jian Ghomeshi.   Courtesy of Reuters/Mark Blinch Workplace harrassment issues get renewed attention in wake of Jian Ghomeshi. Courtesy of Reuters/Mark Blinch

Aluen Navarro
Transportation Reporter

Internships are temporary employment positions, often unpaid, where students gain experience and program credits before entering their field of work.

Students and staff should feel safe with the interns working there. But not all do, Humber faculty and students report, with some feeling concerns are reaching greater levels following the Jian Ghomeshi accusations.

Journalism internship instructor Sophia Hadzipetros said she takes steps before approving an internship for her students.

“It has to be a recognized internship,” said Hadizpetros. “If it seems fine, we’ll approve it.”

All of the internship workplaces have to be reputable organizations.

Hadzipetros said she just won’t send a student to work at a place she knows nothing about, especially if it’s a smaller company.

“It’s the responsibility of Ontario’s colleges and universities to ensure the quality of a learning experience opportunity as part of a course study,” said Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities communications team leader May Nazar.

“Communication is a big part of students staying safe on the job,” said manager of career placement at the University of Guelph-Humber Susan Thomas.

“We also encourage students to speak to their onsite supervisor if there is any issues,” says Thomas.

“While working for an internship, students are obligated to submit partner agreements, which is an outline of what their job is at their internship workplace. It’s a document that includes full contact information and it needs to be signed by the supervisor, so they can confirm that they agree with the jobs the intern is working on at the job,” said Hadzipetros.

There is a workplace safety checklist which is available to be reviewed on the GHworks website (www.ghworks.guelphhumber.ca). It’s a way to gain some knowledge on what is expected from a placement environment and placement safety for staff and students.

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