Frequently Asked Questions
- What sort of offices are suitable for a practicum placement?
Students serve their placements in a wide variety of office settings related to political management. Most frequently, they work in Ottawa for Members of Parliament, government ministers, political parties, government relations firms, industry associations and non-governmental organizations. Some have worked for government departments, with media organizations, public opinion research firms or foreign embassies. And if the timing is right, students sometimes work on federal, provincial or municipal election campaigns, or for party leadership candidates. The essential requirement for the practicum is that students’ work relate to political management. In all cases the practicum coordinator must also be convinced that the work is relevant and appropriately substantive.
- Do placements have to be in Ottawa?
There is no requirement that the internship be in the nation’s capital. Subject to a student’s willingness to relocate, opportunities may be considered in other provinces or even in other countries, so long as the work is relevant and substantive, and appropriate accountability and reporting structures are in place. Note, however, that the POLM program has no funds available to subsidize travel and accommodation.
- How are placements arranged?
Finding a suitable practicum placement is a responsibility shared by the student and the practicum coordinator, and involves close coordination between them. While some students may wish to make their own arrangements based on their own personal or employment connections, in most cases the practicum coordinator will suggest possible placements and help to start conversations.
- May I serve my practicum at my regular place of employment?
Yes, if the practicum coordinator is satisfied that the work will further the student’s knowledge of and experience with political management.
- May I accept remuneration for my practicum work?
The general expectation is that practicum placements are unpaid, and no student should assume otherwise. However, some employers are willing to provide compensation, either as a salary or honorarium. The program leaves these arrangements to be decided between the supervisor and the student.