Preparing to host
an intern

Everything employers
need to know for a

Thank you for your support


Thank you for your commitment to invest in young talent by providing summer internship(s), starting Monday 5 July. By doing so you are helping to put young people at the heart of Covid recovery plans.

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

  • Support resources
  • Best practice workshops
  • FAQs

Given the ongoing restrictions, alongside feedback from many employers, the return to workplaces is going to take some time. We have concluded that some internships will have to take place virtually or be a blended approach where the student will work virtually and in the workplace.

For organisations who want to explore whether any in workplace placement could be possible, this will need to be considered alongside school, Government, and Local Authority policies. We cannot be sure now if this is even a possibility without consent from all involved including students and their parents/carers.

How they work

Structure snapshot

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

Key milestones

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

Key actions


Everything you need to know

Join us for a practical peer-to-peer workshop on 24 March designed for Career Ready employer partners and our wider associates to explore the power of internships.

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, please book your place and we will be in touch.

You can also learn from our feedback from our Virtual Work Experience held in October.

We have produced an example four-week internship programme. Also included are examples of projects and work from employers who have offered Career Ready students a virtual work experience and internships in the past.

Insights Programme

To support you in the delivery of your internship(s), Career Ready are facilitating an online learning programme of industry insights which will be delivered every Thursday – leaving four days each week for your intern(s) to work for you. Find out more about our Insights Programme.

Working hours 

We do not anticipate the virtual or blended internship will follow a traditional 9-5 full working day. We recommend a shortened day to prevent online fatigue, with scheduled meetings/sessions alongside tasks and projects. Interns can work through tasks / projects individually or in small group with other interns or members of staff.

Career Ready is committed to the safeguarding of young people and keeping them safe from harm, in line with our child protection policy. 

Code of good practice 

  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect. 
  • Treat all young people equally. Show no favouritism. 
  • Plan meetings and activities in an open environment in sight of others. 
  • Keep other managers informed of where you are and what you are doing. 
  • Respect a young person’s right to privacy. 
  • Allow young people to talka bout any concerns about the workplace they may have. 
  • Encourage others to challenge any attitudes or behaviours they do not like. 
  • Avoid being drawn into inappropriate attention seeking beabiour e.g. tantrums, crushes. 
  • Avoid inappropriate language, behaviour, or contact. 
  • Don’t make suggestive remarks or threads to a young person, even in fun. 
  • Remember someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned. 
  • Never trivalise abuse or condone abusive peer activities e.g. bullying. 
  • Don’t form a relationship that is an abuse of trust with a young person. 
  • Don’t just relay on your good name to protect you. 
  • Put this code into ptractice at all times, even at sensitive moments. 

If you suspect abuse, if a young person confides in you or if a complaint is made about any adult or about yourself, it is your duty to report the concern to your senior manager. DO NOT let allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse go unreported.

In such cases: 

  • Allow the young person to speak without interruption, accept what is said. 
  • Offer immediate understanding and reassurance; pass no judgement. 
  • Advise that you will try to offer support but that you must pass the information on. 
  • Immediatley contact the safeguarding offiicer at the student’s school/college. This may not be the Career Ready cooridnator but they can direct you. 
  • Write careful notes of what you witnesses, heard or were told. Use the actual words where possible. 
  • Sign, date, and pass your notes to the student’s Career Ready coordinator in a selead envelope (as they may not be the nominated safeguarding person). 
  • Make a written note of when this information was reported and to whom it was given. 
  • Notify your manager that an issue has arisen but do not disclose the nature. 
  • Try to ensure no one is placed in a position that could cause further concern or compromises. 

If you are concerned about any discussions that take place or have any suspictions that something is wrong please contact Career Ready’s designated safeguarding lead, Mahad Ali, on 07738719496. 

You can find out more about specific safeguarding best practice for virtual internships in our Safeguarding Guidance document. 


Interns will be transitioning into a new world of work, so it’s important to consider changes in advance to create a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Please review the onboarding handbook and complete any required actions as soon as you are able. This will help you and students be fully prepared for the internship and ensure it is a smooth, and impactful experience.

Your commitment to paying students during their internship is so important in ensuring wider access to such an opportunity. Internships are often a required step onto the career ladder, yet unpaid opportunities exclude talented young people who don’t have the means to work without pay. By paying all Career Ready interns, together we level the playing field, boost social mobility, and diversify talent in the workplace.

The virtual nature of internships this summer means students are unlikely to be working a traditional 9-5 day over the four-week period (more details on this can be found in the Planning the Internship section). Where possible it’s recommended that employers pay students 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.

We will be in touch with your organisation’s internship point of contact at the end of March to give them access to our new employer portal where they can complete and submit the internship job descriptions by the end of April.

The job description is designed to give your student(s) an overview of the work they will be doing, and the skills required or to be developed. Where you are supporting more than one student, you may have a tailored job description for each individual, or the same description may be suitable to be uploaded for all students.

You will be asked to provide, via the portal, details of the internship supervisor for each student so they know who they will be working for.

You can find out more about our job description process in our guidance document.

In addition to providing important insights and experience of the world of work, the paid internship gives young people the opportunity to understand the recruitment process, from reading and understanding a job description to preparing for and attending an interview.

We ask that all employers provide an interview experience to help prepare them for future job, college, and university applications. Interviews can be conducted via your preferred online platform (MS Teams, Google Meet etc) and is potentially the first opportunity to meet each other and explain what the student can expect during the internship. It is helpful if the internship supervisor can take part. Interviews should ideally take place during May.

We have collated some sample, non-competitive interview questions which you may wish to use and there is further information on virtual interviews and student recruitment here.

Internship supervisors will play a leading role in supporting students’ internship experience.

This is an excellent development opportunity too, giving staff an experience of management, and identifying people who are keen to be involved will be helpful.

Many employers also provide a dedicated day to day buddy for an intern, so that they have a go to person for any questions and support needed beyond the tasks / projects assigned.

Once you have identified supervisors, please ensure you provide them with guidance on areas such as:

  • inducting interns and providing all necessary resources for their role
  • developing learning objectives and goals with the intern
  • preparing other colleagues and team members to support the intern
  • evaluating progress and providing regular feedback
  • supporting the student to develop an end of internship presentation

We will invite all supervisors to participate in a virtual briefing in May/June which covers specific information about their role and the Career Ready programme. We will provide a handbook in due course for supervisors to assist them in their role.

All Career Ready students attend Masterclass 3: ‘Preparing for Work’ prior to their internship, helping them to make the most of their internship experience.

To further support interns and you in the delivery of your internship(s), Career Ready are facilitating an online learning programme of industry insights which will be delivered every Thursday – leaving four days each week for your intern(s) to work for you. Find out more about the Career Ready Insights Programme here

Students benefit from delivering a presentation at the end of their internship, covering what they have learned from the experience and how they feel it has helped them to develop. Many organisations use this as an opportunity to gather feedback too. This is a great way for others in your organisation to appreciate the difference you are making to young people.

Pre-Covid some employers have extended the employment relationship with an intern. This is not an expectation of the programme, and any arrangements are made entirely at the employer’s discretion.

Given the virtual nature of the summer 2021 internships it would be wonderful, later in the year / early 2022 (hopefully), to invite your intern(s) into your place of work.

We love it when you promote your involvement with Career Ready and highlight students’ internship achievements. Articles in an internal newsletter/intranet, press releases, discussions at Chamber of Commerce meetings or other networking events helps to spread the word about your organisation’s involvement and can encourage other employers to get involved.

Please also share and celebrate your involvement across your social media channels (tag us @CareerReadyUK).  We cannot wait to share what you post across our extensive network.

We will share a promotional pack for you ahead of the start of internships (June 2021).

Students will greatly appreciate a reference from your organisation and perhaps practical help with CV writing, college, UCAS and job applications and interviews. This is usually done with their mentor.

We will be sending a feedback survey to you and your internship supervisors.  The feedback from the virtual work experiences in October 2020 has really helped inform this summer’s internships. You can view a summary of the feedback from October 2020 virtual work experience here.

Resource library


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 5 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 21 June with internships ending on Friday 16 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.

In Scotland, most students will also be able to elect to participate in the SQA Personal Development Self and Work Unit to underpin their experience (and receive accredited tariff points on their school leaver certificate).

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.

Students will interact with volunteers from across the host organisation, but there should only be one-to -one meetings between the intern and their nominated supervisor or internship buddy

You can find out more in our Safeguarding Guidance document.

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