Preparing to host
an intern

Everything employers need to know for a high-quality experience.


Thank you for your support 


Thank you for your commitment to supporting Scotland’s young talent, particularly amidst this uncertain time. Your support means that we’re able to put young people at the heart of the COVID recovery.

We have prepared extensive guidance to support you in the delivery of your four-week paid remote internship(s), commencing Monday 21 June 2021. Each intern is with you for four days a week and – to support you – every Thursday interns attend online industry insight sessions.

Given ongoing restrictions, the return to workplaces will take some time. We have concluded that the best option is for internships to take place virtually for the vast majority. We recognise there may be a few organisations who want to explore in-workplace interaction, and this will need to be considered alongside government guidelines, school and Local Authority policies. We cannot be sure if this is a possibility without consent from all involved. We see an in-work internship as likely to be the exception rather than the norm.

Thank you for your support, care, and energy to proceed with planning for virtual internships.

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

Register your attendance to attend an employer led conversation, facilitated by John Owen, Talent Attraction Consultant at NatWest Group, to hear more about successfully engaging young people in the virtual workplace. 

Thursday 6 May, 12 – 1pm

John is looking forward to discussing:

  • Redefining what good engagement looks like
  • Making the most of your digital space
  • Getting comfortable with (and pushing) the technology
  • Structure, execution, and delivery

Please submit any questions or areas you are particularly interested in hearing about in advance of the session using this link:  

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 Career Ready Insights Programme.

Working hours 

We do not anticipate the virtual 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. Please take the time to read our Safeguarding Guidance for virtual internships.

Please review the onboarding handbook and complete this onboarding form as soon as possible and no later than Friday 26 March to confirm your onboarding and technology requirements for the internship.  This will help students prepare the documents you need before starting and help us work with you and schools to ensure students have access to the technology required to work remotely for your organisation.  We highly recommend that mentors support their students to collate the onboarding information required.

Further guidance on the onboarding process can be found here.

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).  To minimise complications and in line with your internship budget planning, we kindly request that you maintain the minimum payment to any student for their internship of £700 (based on the £4.62 minimum wage rounded up to £5 per hour minimum wage per normal Career Ready in Scotland guidance).  Where your organisational policy is to pay above this rate your policy should be followed, considering the minimum £700 guidance alongside hours worked.

Students will be added to your payroll system as temporary employees for four weeks, following the same onboarding process as any other temporary employee within your organisation.  In very exceptional circumstances, Career Ready can manage the payroll on your behalf.  We charge an administration fee of £120 per student. In addition to our staff time, this fee contributes to the costs of buying, printing, posting and generally handling payslips, P45s and software licence.

All employment will be directly with you as the employer and will not be subcontracted to Career Ready.

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 26 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.

Job descriptions also form the basis of Health & Safety checks which will be carried out by Local Authorities before the internship starts.

Once you have completed your job description(s) you will be contacted by a member of the Local Authority Health & Safety team if this is required for your organisation based on recency and the circumstances of young people in your workplace. 

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. 

While students do not go through a competitive selection process for their internship, 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 the week of 7 or 14 June, after students have participated in Masterclass 3: Preparing for Work.

We have collated some sample, non-competitive interview questions which you may wish to use.

Students, with the support of their school, can elect to participate in the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Personal Development Unit: Self and Work, to underpin their internship experience.  Mentors and internship supervisors can support students who are completing this unit by providing insight, guidance, and encouragement to enable them to meet the learning outcomes.  For your information, not all schools offer this qualification, and some students may not be aware of it.

Find out more here

Internship supervisors, who may be the student’s mentor, will play a leading role in supporting students’ internship experience.

This is an excellent development opportunity too, giving staff 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 for supervisors to assist them in their role (link to be inserted here once available).


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.

Students will have the opportunity to present on their internship when they return to school at a Celebration of Success event. Another purpose of this event is to ensure students reconnect with their mentor after the summer break. 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. 

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, job applications and interviews. This is usually done with their mentor.

We will send 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


The students on the Career Ready programme undertake an internship in the summer between 5th and 6th year so are aged 16/17. After the internship students will then start their 6th year or, for some, move into work or onto college.

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. 

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).

Internships are an incredible bridge in supporting students from less privileged backgrounds into industries they may struggle to get a foothold into.  A 2018 report by the Sutton Trust found that as many as 70% of internships were unpaid, and 27% of young graduates had completed an unpaid internship. Similarly, the Trendence UK Graduate Survey 2020 of almost 72,000 students revealed that 43% of students who had done an internship were not paid for it.

Unpaid internships are also considered a barrier to social mobility. It’s seen as unfair that students and graduates from wealthier backgrounds can take part in, and benefit from, unpaid internships, while many others simply cannot afford to. 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. 

We ask that each student you are hosting has an internship supervisor (who may be their mentor) – someone to act as a key point of contact within the organisation for the duration of their 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 for the full internship, you will have a different role than if your student works across different departments. 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.

You are free to use whatever platform(s) you use in your day-to-day business. For example, Microsoft Teams or Google Classrooms.  Most Local Authorities won’t permit the use of Zoom on Local Authority provided devices.  If the platform you use is Zoom you may have to provide a device for the young person to use to access this. 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.

Career Ready is committed to the safeguarding of young people, in line with our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy published on our website.  If you organise any 121 sessions between Career Ready students and your staff, please ensure someone is present who holds a Career Ready PVG (current or past mentor).  If this isn’t possible for your organisation, please get in touch as soon as possible and we can help set your internship supervisor(s) up with Career Ready PVG membership. This process can take a few weeks to complete with Disclosure Scotland so please do get in touch if you think you might need this as soon as you are able.  Please take the time to read our detailed Safeguarding guidance for virtual internships here.

During the first week of the internship school coordinators will be in school for the first few days and are the best first point of contact for any concerns around student attendance.  For the remainder of the internship once schools have closed for summer, please contact your Career Ready Regional Manager, or Local Authority Coordinator (contact details for whom are shared at the internship supervisor briefing for your area).

Yes.  Whilst students do accrue holidays over the period of the internship, it is expected students would not take leave while on internship to maximise their time.  However, it is up to each employer how they will apply their own policy and please communicate this to your supervisors.  The statutory holiday accrual for 4 weeks is 2 days based on a 5 day / 35 hour working week. We know this year interns will be working less than this and so any holiday accrual will be pro-rata and may be absorbed into their reduced working hours arrangements.

We recognise there may be a small number of organisations who want to explore whether any workplace interaction could be possible given the nature of the workplace, and this will need to be considered alongside government guidelines, as well as school and Local Authorities policies. We cannot be sure now if this is even a possibility without consent from all involved including students and their parents/carers.

Given timescales needed for Local Authority Health & Safety checks it will not be possible to work with any short notice requests for face-to-face interaction prior to, or during the internship period, and so can only work with you on what we best know can be possible at this point in time.

The internship dates are carefully planned to ensure students can be supported in their first few days by their school before summer holidays begin, and students and their families have committed to keeping these dates as free as possible. 

For organisations providing internships in Scotland and England, the internships in England start on Monday 5 July.

Any deviations to internship start and end dates cannot be guaranteed and would require the organisation to facilitate all that entails.

For those students returning to school or starting college after their internship, the start of term is the 16 August. 

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.  Focused around obtaining insights into industry via live and recorded interactions with employer volunteers, each session will provide information on roles and pathways into specific sectors.  Live sessions will be delivered every Thursday morning and the afternoon will be dedicated to self-directed learning using recorded resources.  Find out more about the Career Ready Insights Programme here.

Success stories

Addressing the skills shortage is one of the biggest challenges to our sector. By engaging with young people, we create a pipeline of talent that can be mentored, trained, and guided to become ‘career ready’ young professionals, that undoubtedly help to enhance our business.   

Deans Civil Engineering 
Success stories