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Code of Conduct for organisations

This document outlines what Arts Emergency expects from all organisations we work with.

We believe that young people not only have the right to access creative and cultural spaces but that they deserve to be treated fairly, equally and with respect in them. If you are working with Arts Emergency Young Talent we ask that you read through these guidelines carefully and carry these practices into your workplace.

This is a living document and may be updated.


  • create a safe and welcoming space in your work environment
    • listen to and respect young people at all times

    • respect a young person’s right to personal privacy. Do not be intrusive

    • respect a young person’s personal physical and emotional boundaries

  • be compassionate and nurturing
    • value and take young people’s contributions seriously

    • give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism

  • be thoughtful with your use of language. If you need to have a difficult conversation, look at our resource on this topic

  • consider how hierarchy and power influences your workplace and how a young person might experience this

  • do not expect young people to carry out emotional labour in your workplace. This includes asking young people
    • with a particular lived experience to be a voice for others

    • to discuss social-justice issues with you

  • do not engage in behaviour that is in any way emotionally, physically or sexually abusive or manipulative

  • do not patronise or belittle young people.


  • understand that young people are individuals with individual needs

  • respect young people’s differences in gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, disability and religious belief systems, and appreciate that all participants bring something valuable

  • ensure you have pastoral care in place to ensure the wellbeing of the young person

  • make reasonable adjustments to allow disabled young people to enter your workplace and fully take part in the experience. If this is not possible, you must let us know

  • make sure you have a clear complaints procedure that is up to scratch and explain this as part of the induction

  • treat young people fairly, without prejudice, discrimination or microaggressions

  • encourage young people and staff to speak out about attitudes or behaviour that makes them uncomfortable

  • challenge any discrimination, prejudice and microagressions you might see

  • ensure your contact with young people is appropriate and relevant to your work

  • make sure that there are consequences for unacceptable behaviour.

Fair Pay

  • pay fairly, at least the Living Wage or your industry rate

  • pay on time

  • share your rates with those starting out, so young people understand what fair pay looks like in your industry

  • for unpaid work experience, we recommend allocating £15 a day for lunch and travel expenses for each young person

  • any work experience that lasts longer than five working days should be paid the Living Wage

  • a young person should not be doing unpaid work that is integral to the successful running of an organisation

  • offer flexible working hours - this is important for those who have disabilities, caring responsibilities etc.

For more details on offering us a paid opportunity, read our dedicated resource page.


For all young people

  • work in a way to protect and advocate for every young person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect

  • promote safe practices by being an excellent role model; positively involve people in developing safe practices wherever possible and report any concerns about poor practice swiftly

  • encourage open communication by treating all people equally with respect and dignity and share information appropriately with others and within the law

  • understand and accommodate for young people over the age of 18 may be at risk of abuse due to their needs for care and support.

For under 18s

  • you must guarantee that safeguarding is part of your risk assessment, including:
    • ensuring the content the young person is working with has to be appropriate for their age

    • not adding or following the young person on social media.

  • you must ensure that they are not left alone both in-person and digitally. This means:
    • you always accompany the young person to meetings (online or in person)

    • you must be cc’d into all email correspondence

    • a young person cannot be left alone with only one adult present

    • no young person should be left in a room with an adult with the door closed

  • you must maintain and respect a young person’s boundaries with social media.

  • do not share pictures of the young person on social media, your website, or marketing materials without their permission

Reporting safeguarding concerns

  • you must report to our Safeguarding Team by filling out our safeguarding form if:
    • you have any concerns about a young person (both under and over 18)

    • you accidentally hurt a young person and they seem distressed in any manner; and/or if the young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done which could result in an allegation of misconduct

If in doubt, refer to our safeguarding and child protection procedures.

Writing Job Descriptions

  • always state the salary for the role

  • make it clear where the position is based and if you’re open to a young person working from home

  • be clear what the working hours of your organisation are and if flexible working hours are available

  • state if you provide a phone, laptop, software or other digital devices. Remember that digital poverty is real

  • use bullet points to make it easier to digest, especially for neurodivergent applicants

  • be conversational and don’t use jargon

  • don’t use ableist terms like “must be energetic” or “must be mature” in your person specifications

  • don’t expect candidates to have a certain number of years experience

  • do not require a degree unless a particular qualification is absolutely necessary for the role

  • do not expect candidates for entry level roles to know how to use specialist software. Make sure you offer training

  • decide whether a drivers licence is really essential and what workarounds you have for those who can’t drive i.e. those with medical conditions or those from low income households. Can you offer a scholarship to help fund driving lessons?

  • never ask for just a CV

  • have non-written ways to apply i.e. video and audio applications

  • always have a deadline. Rolling applications are not always accessible

  • make sure the application window is at least two to three weeks long

  • have a contact name and email on the job description so potential candidates can ask questions about the role

For more advice on writing better job ads, read our blog.


  • let young people know the interview questions beforehand

  • only include interview tasks that are relevant to the actual position

  • ask ahead of the interview if they have any access needs

  • if you are running an interview online, be clear ahead of the interview what platform you will be using

  • if you are running an in-person interview with a young person from a different city, you must offer travel expenses

  • organise an informal “getting to know you” interview before work experience placements

You can read our tips on conducting interviews in this blog.

Best practice employment

Before the young person arrives

  • ask if they have any access needs and accommodate them

  • do not expect them to work outside of working hours unless previously stated and you are offering Time Off In Lieu

  • do not expect young people to use their personal mobiles for work calls

  • let your colleagues know that there will be someone arriving for a placement

  • make a note of your colleagues who would be happy to have 1-2-1 tea breaks where they get to know the young person

  • you may want to create a separate email for the young person for data protection

  • you may want to clear permissions from IT for access to certain files. If this is quite clunky, we’d recommend creating an open access folder for documents your young person would need access to during their placement.

When the placement takes place

  • welcome them to the organisation

  • introduce the young person to other members of staff, e.g. set up 1-2-1 tea breaks

  • let them know where the toilets, kitchens and faith rooms are located

  • encourage short breaks away from the desk

  • allow a full hour for lunch

  • arrange regular 1-2-1s

  • offer an exit interview

  • at the end of the placement, if your young person is
    • over 18, you can invite them to post work socials but make it clear that it is not a requirement and please say in advance if there will be alcohol

    • under 18, you can invite them to post work socials but there must not be alcohol and their lead contact must be present

Additional considerations for working online

  • ask if they have any digital access needs and accommodate for them e.g. do they have a laptop and regular connection to wifi?

  • if you require the young person to use certain software, you must provide either a software licence or access to a laptop/computer that contains the software

  • train the young person on the online platforms you use

  • encourage regular breaks away from the screen

Supporting their next steps

  • you must provide a debrief towards the end of the placement to help young people understand their achievements i.e. the skills that will help them get employed next, how to ace recruitment into the industry.

  • provide thorough and personalised references by filling out our feedback survey that is sent to you at the end of the placement

  • If they are over 18, you can ask if you can stay in touch with them to let them know about future opportunities in your organisation and/or include them in the pool of freelancers you work with.


  • you should always follow this code of behaviour and never rely on your reputation or that of our organisation to protect you

  • if you behave inappropriately we will not work with you again

  • if we are made aware of safeguarding concerns that have taken place within your organisation, we may be required by law to make a report to statutory agencies and/or the local authority child protection services