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Preparing to host interns2021-09-02T16:00:42+00:00

Preparing to host
an intern

Everything employers
need to know for a

Thank you for your support


A paid internship is a vital experience for the young people on our Career Ready Post-16 Programme. They give young people the opportunity to develop vital career skills and experience, and employers the chance to attract diverse, local talent. 

Held in the summer holidays between school years 12/13, they include a blend of remote and office-based placements.

We have prepared extensive guidance to help you provide a high-quality experience for young people and you as the host employer, including:

  • Internship model guidance
  • Support resources
  • FAQs
  • Case studies

And we will be adding further support information and resources over the coming months.

Success Stories 

Hear first-hand from our former interns and our network of employers who have provided paid opportunities: stories of transformation and development for both our students and their employers. 

How they work

Structure snapshot

Full information on how to structure an internship can be found in our guidance document.

Key milestones and actions

Any unavoidable variation to start/end dates has implications which will benefit from a conversation with us.


Since 2002 Career Ready has provided thousands of teenagers with internships in the offices and workplaces of its business supporters as part of a programme of employer engagement in schools. These internships, lasting four to six weeks and are the proper way to provide students with real work and to be paid to do it.

Our Career Ready at 18 research report shows the transformational impact of paid internships of four weeks on young people aged 16-19. We are working with businesses to open up a world of opportunity to young people who have the potential to succeed but lack the networks and role models to do so.

Internships in England, Northern Ireland and Wales start on July 4 and are completed before the end of August.

In Scotland, all internships commence during the last week of the school term and end during the school summer holidays – in 2021 the start date is Monday 20 June with internships ending on Friday 22 July.

In England, Wales, and N. Ireland students undertake their internship between Year 12 and Year 13 (EW&NI) and are aged 16/17 – 18 years.

In Scotland, students undertake their internship in the summer between S5/6.

COVID has naturally had consequences for internships and young people.

Similar to how businesses are providing their staff with flexible working arrangements, employers are encouraged look at arrangements that work well for interns. Provided the work that interns undertake is meaningful and continuous, adaptations for the working week can be agreed between the employer, student, and their school co-ordinator. For instance, this could include a slightly shorter day like 9-3pm.

The last year has seen the acceleration of remote and flexible working, which seems like it is here to stay – interacting virtually and making use of technology is increasingly becoming the norm. The students will still gain vital insights into the world of work as it changes to embrace more virtual interactions, be exposed to the professional environment, and get the opportunity to ‘meet’ new people, network and develop valuable work-based skills.

Where possible it’s recommended that employers pay students the national living wage, government guidance on these rates can be found here. However, an intern should be paid in line with your company policy and at minimum in line with statutory guidance around pay.

Unpaid internships are a barrier to social mobility. This could be because their families can’t support them financially while they are doing it or because they don’t live near to where most internships take place (namely London). In 2020, The Sutton Trust estimated that the cost of doing an unpaid internship was £1,093 (or £1,011 if travel costs were paid by the employer) in London and £905 in Manchester (or £843 if travel was covered).

We want our students to have a realistic experience of applying for a job – from writing an application to reading and understanding a job description and having an interview.

All students are asked to complete one standard online application form for all internships. In return we ask that employers complete a job description for all places they are offering – the deadline for all job descriptions is 26 April 2021 Please contact your Career Ready Regional Manager or a member of our Business Development Team for more information.

We ask that you complete a Job Description template so we can best match a student to the role. Once your JDs are with us we work with our schools and colleges in the relevant regions and ask the coordinator to put forward a suitable student. We are confident that the selection and briefing process all students go through will ensure that a suitable candidate is matched to you and therefore we do not advise you hold a competitive interview process, but just meet the student or students matched to you for a formal discussion.

After interviewing your student, it is your responsibility to let them know if they have been successful or not. Should you feel that they are not appropriate then you can reject that student and we will identify someone else for you to meet. However, our experience tells us that this only happens in exceptional circumstances and in the main, employers are very pleased with the first student who is matched to them.

Find out more in our student recruitment guidance document.

We ask that each student you are hosting has an internship supervisor, someone to act a as a key point of contact within the organisation for the duration of the internship. The exact remit will depend on the nature and structure of your organisation and the format of the individual internship experience.

For example, if you work alongside the student within the same office for the full placement, you will have a different role that if your student works across different departments at varying locations. It can work well to assign someone from your team as a ‘buddy’ who may have recently been through education themselves and an opportunity for development who is at the beginning of their career.

Most students are given access to anything a normal temporary member of staff would be given. Some students may need to sign a confidentiality agreement with the company or have limited access to certain systems, so please see consider this in your planning and onboarding of students.

To support you, we commit to:

  • Give you a toolkit to support you in running the internship placement (the student will also have one)
  • Invite you to a supervisor briefing before the placement begins. Career Ready will offer both face-to-face and teleconference briefings for internship supervisors, particularly new supervisors, to help them prepare for the role. Supervisors will also be contacted after internships have finished to gather feedback to help us improve the internship experience next year.
  • Stay in contact with you and the student to support you throughout.
  • Visit or speak with the student at least once during their internship, including to listen to their presentation.

You are free to use whatever platform(s) you use in your day-to-day business. For example, Microsoft Teams or Google Classrooms. It is best to choose an option which has ‘break out’ functionality, if you plan to set the students group tasks. For reference, most (but not all) schools will have been using Microsoft Teams as their online platform of choice.

We are currently reviewing our safeguarding guidance for 2022

Success stories

Having a young person’s perspective on our marketing and communications has proved to be a real asset. And having talented individuals from the Career Ready programme contribute to projects has added real value.


Success stories