Adventure Pals - Australian Internship and Work Experience Laws
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was brought on-board the Adventure Pals project several months back to do some level design work and have in recent months transitioned into being their Quality Assurance Lead. In this new position, I have gone to lengths to research and understand aspects of Australian Law. I have worked to satisfy the expectations of the Adventure Pals team, the student interns, and Art Intelligence, the school to which the students attend.
Due to the Australian Employment Act internships and work experience opportunities are required by law to be paid minimum wage and follow some very strict guidelines. The alternative to this is for a University, TAFE, or a licensed RTO to cover the insurance side of things and volunteer students into work experience opportunities that relate to units of competency required in the course material (Sorry for the TAE Industry jargon!). A limitation of the latter method is that a student may not work without pay for more than 100 hours each year. I was informed upon transitioning to Quality Assurance Lead that there was no budget left and that QA had been unstructured and considered tertiary until that point. Art Intelligence has been very open to working with Bethesda and local Australian companies in the past to get students involved in work experience. I spoke with their Career Advisor team and negotiated terms and conditions so that everyone would benefit from this arrangement.
A mountain of paperwork later, lots of anxiety, confusion, miscommunication, morality debates with colleagues, then finally clarification. All parties are now satisfied, everyone understands the arrangement, and most importantly things have been done by the books. Abiding by legislation and law is something I went to extreme lengths to check, check, and quadruple check.
I believe it is vital for a designer to be able to immerse themselves in a wide diversity of fields. Whether it be athletics, mineralogy, comic books, movies, anthropology, dance, or even law. A game designer should be versatile and flexible. When the time calls for days upon hours of grueling law research, it is our strength to throw ourselves at it with the same passion that drives us to design mechanics and prototype game levels.