Micro-Internships (Employer Info) | The Careers Service Micro-Internships (Employer Info) – Oxford University Careers Service
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Overview

What is the Micro-Internship Programme?

The Micro-Internship Programme offers organisations based in the UK and Germany the opportunity to provide some voluntary work experience to Oxford’s bright, hard-working students in the form of micro-internship placements. Placements last 2-5 days and are coordinated to take place at the end of each academic term. The placement weeks are the first two weeks of each vacation period (called 9th and 10th week) – the times of year are March, June and December.

Each placement should provide an intern or group of interns with an opportunity to observe and assist with a notable project, offering them the chance to develop their knowledge and employability. By helping complete these projects, our students significantly develop their skills and understanding within particular sectors. Projects the interns can help with can be anything from social media strategies and data collection, to event planning and product development.

Micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, although host organisations must reimburse interns with local travel expenses (within the relevant city, e.g. Oxford, and not inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on submission of receipts.

If you have any questions about the Micro-Internship Programme that are not answered here, or would like to express an interest in future participation in the programme, please contact us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

Benefits of micro-internships

What are the benefits of hosting a micro-internship?

  • Micro-internships are open to all students, from first-years to postgraduates, so it’s a great way to promote your organisation to our students.
  • The development of a direct link between your organisation and Oxford University.
  • The Internship Office takes responsibility for advertising the micro-internships to students and for the administration of processing applications to present to the host organisations.
  • 99% organisations participating in the academic year 2017/18 would recommend the Micro-Internship Programme to other organisations.

What are the benefits for students?

  • Students gain valuable work experience to add to their CV.
  • A variety of placements are offered, allowing students to explore different sectors and roles.
  • The development of personal and professional skills.
  • An insight into a specific organisation and sector, with a chance to make contacts within the industry.
  • Micro-internships are convenient to fit into a demanding academic schedule.

What our partners say about the programme…

“Working with the interns on the Micro-Internship Programme gave us excellent insight into areas we had not previously had time to explore. The interns picked up their individual projects quickly, presented their findings clearly at regular intervals and were able to leave us with working solutions that we are happy to implement.”  Stephen Graham, AI Gaming

“Once again the Micro-Internship Programme has delivered fantastic efficiency of service and most importantly, a brilliant intern for one of our English Mastery projects. From her initial application through to her performance during the programme, she was well-prepared and highly engaged. A credit to both the programme and the university.”  Ronnie Henderson, Ark Teacher Training

“On both occasions we have participated in the initiative it has been very rewarding. The students have brought such creative energy and enthusiasm, and it has been excellent to see them take a seed of an idea to a more polished product. We have been impressed by what they have achieved in such a short space of time.”  Sarah Wilkin, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

“Jacari is so grateful for our intern’s wonderful work! She went above and beyond to make the project far better than I had envisaged when I wrote the brief. I really enjoyed working with her and she has made a great contribution to our organisation’s resources. As a small charity with limited staff time, we really appreciated her very concentrated work on improving the quality of materials we can provide to our volunteers – we could not have done it without her.”  Freya Turner, Jacari

What can interns do?

Work experience provision

In order for an internship to be eligible to be advertised through the Micro-Internship Programme, it must present students with specific details of a project (or a set of closely interrelated projects) with which they will be assisting and observing. The host organisation should try to provide experience of a project that is:

  • Small-scale: for completion within a maximum of five working days.
  • Challenging and engaging: so as to provide a valuable learning experience for the student and to push them, enabling the development of skills.

Projects may be self-contained or form part of a larger, ongoing project. Some micro-interns continue working on a project previously begun by past Oxford micro-interns or summer interns. The Internship Office appreciates that some organisations may not be able to offer a contained, short-term project as such; therefore work shadowing, observing and assisting can form part of the experience.

Examples of previous internships

“The main project of my placement was working on how the future launch of the app Greater Change (a cashless donations app for the homeless) should be marketed. As part of this we carried out some social media analysis and developed various ideas and strategies to give a presentation on a variety of different ideas that could form the app’s launch marketing. We also took part in some practical fundraising and met with homeless people on the streets to talk about their take on the app.”  Micro-intern at Aspire, Oxford

“I was responsible for researching and producing a report on the educational journey of refugees and developing an understanding of how to launch educational projects with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. At the end of the internship, I led and delivered a presentation followed by a Q&A with managers and directors of the company on my findings.”  Micro-intern, Whizz Education, London

“I worked with Fuel 3D’s product group to carry out an independent market research on 3D retail platforms. I learned about and delved into the company’s progress and solutions, current and potential competitors, and their solutions and patents around the 3D retail platform.”  Micro-intern at Fuel 3D Technologies, Oxfordshire

In other internships our students have been given experience in:

  • The development of new marketing initiatives, or reviews of existing marketing strategies
  • Data collection and presentation: from creating, distributing and compiling surveys and survey responses, to the photographing and digitising of medieval manuscripts
  • Event planning
  • Fundraising and awareness campaigns
  • Product development
  • Creating a new campaign film to fit the organisation’s brief
  • Research and report writing: from investigating the ramifications of organisation relocation and restructuring, to market research
  • Programming and software development
  • Writing educational articles for a specific audience
  • Researching and creating business models
  • Conducting audits within an organisation
  • Cataloguing collections and research with archives.

If you would like further examples of past internships, including those related to your industry sector, please email micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

Internship Office Policy on Voluntary Placements

Through the Micro-Internship Programme, the Internship Office facilitates voluntary work experience placements with reimbursement of local travel and lunch expenses on submission of receipts. Due to the voluntary nature of micro-internships, their maximum duration is 5 days. If, following the micro-internship, the hosts wish to engage interns to undertake work or undertake a full internship, this arrangement should be made directly between hosts and interns. Hosts should remunerate students at the minimum wage or above for this separate arrangement; the UK Government webpages provided useful information on minimum wage policy and employment rights for interns.

Timeline and key dates

When do placements happen?

The Micro-Internship Programme coordinates placements in three cycles over the course of each academic year, coinciding with the 9th and 10th week of each Oxford University term, which are the first two weeks of the Christmas, Easter and summer vacations:

  • Winter cycle: early December (end of Michaelmas Term)
  • Spring cycle: mid-March (end of Hilary Term)
  • Summer cycle: late June (end of Trinity Term)

Organisations are welcome to participate in the programme on multiple occasions over the course of each academic year, although there is no obligation to do so: the programme is very flexible.

The specific dates for the placement weeks for the academic year 2018/19 are as follows:

  • Winter cycle: 3-7 December and/or 10-14 December 2018
  • Spring cycle: 11-15 March and/or 18-22 March 2019
  • Summer cycle: 24-28 June and/or 1-5 July 2019 

Host organisations can participate in one or both weeks, as long as individual students are completing a placement with a maximum duration of five days. Whilst it is possible to be flexible and host micro-internships at later dates during vacation periods, we recommend coinciding with the above dates: these are most convenient for students and will result in the greatest interest in your placement. It is not possible to host micro-internships during term time.

For key dates in the next cycle, please see our Michaelmas Term 2018 timeline. To given an idea for later cycles, the timeline takes approximately the same structure every term.

When should I submit my internship proposal(s)?

Project proposals are accepted throughout the year, with the following deadlines for 2018/19:

  • Deadline for Winter cycle internship proposals: 26 September 2018
  • Deadline for Spring cycle internship proposals: 4 January 2019
  • Deadline for Summer cycle internship proposals: 17 April 2019
Offering a placement and the micro-internship process

Guide to Submitting a Micro-Internship Proposal

How do I participate in the programme?

Please register your organisation on CareerConnect if you have not done so already. CareerConnect is our online platform used by students and organisations to access vacancies and our services.

To participate, organisations submit a micro-internship proposal on CareerConnect. The form is accessible online: please see our walk-through Guide to Submitting a Micro-Internship Proposal, which also includes an example micro-internship proposal for your reference. Once submitted, all proposals come through to the Internship Office for approval before going live to students. Edits can still be made after submission.

If you are a new employer, the Internship Office Team will arrange a telephone or Skype call with you to discuss the micro-internship process and answer any questions you may have.

Diversity initiatives and encouraging students with disabilities

The micro-internship proposal features a diversity initiatives section, where employers can outline any policies, programmes or practices they have which support diversity and inclusion within the workplace. We strongly encourage employers to provide information in this section. Where no formal arrangements are in place, we still welcome employers to add a statement. On the proposal form there is also a section to inform us whether you can make reasonable adjustments and provisions in your workplace for students with disabilities – the Internship Office strives to make its internship programmes accessible to all students, and this includes students with disabilities. In the UK, this is in line with the 2010 Equality Act. Further details on both sections can be found in the Guide to Submitting a Micro-Internship Proposal. Please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with any questions.

What happens once the proposal is approved?

All micro-internships are advertised to students on the same date (please see timelines above). The Internship Office is responsible for marketing all placements and responding to student queries on your behalf. We also provide Application Support Sessions where we give students 1:1 advice.

How do students apply?

Students have approximately two and a half weeks in which to apply for a maximum of two micro-internships (per term), making their application directly to the Internship Office through CareerConnect. Our application requirement is a one-page CV and 300-word personal statement.The closing date is set by the Internship Office and is the same for all placements.

Candidate selection

Once the deadline has passed, the Internship Office securely sends hosts the applications they have received. Hosts have approximately 10 days to make their selection. You can use your own selection process and are welcome to contact candidates directly to arrange interviews, telephone calls etc. if wished.

You then advise us of your preferred choice of intern(s) and any reserve candidates, if applicable, rather than informing the students directly. Host organisations are not obliged to select interns if no applications are suitable. The Internship Office communicates all decisions on your behalf, including to unsuccessful candidates.

What happens after selection?

Once offers have been confirmed, we put you in touch with your intern(s) so arrangements can be made prior to the placement week. We recommend organising a short induction or meeting prior to the placement week – this is often beneficial to both student and host, to meet colleagues and understand further details of the project.

Micro-internship feedback

Once the micro-internships are complete, the Internship Office sends feedback forms to all students and hosts. This feedback is a requirement of the programme and is hugely appreciated as it helps us to develop our placements, informing best practice.

Second batch micro-internships

The Internship Office facilitates a second round for any employers who wish to re-advertise their placement(s) to attract more applicants. The student application window and employer selection time last for approximately one week each. As with the first round, the Internship Office is responsible for advertising and marketing. During this round, we only re-advertise placements and cannot accept any new placements at this stage.

FAQs

Will interns be paid?

Although these placements are voluntary and unpaid, interns must be provided with their local travel (within the relevant city only, e.g. Oxford, and not inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on production of receipts. Reimbursement is done directly between the host and student, rather than through the Internship Office.

I am unsure if the intended work experience is suitable for a micro-internship.

If you have questions about a work experience idea, please email us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk and a member of the Internship Office will be more than happy to discuss the idea with you. For more guidance on how to present your project please take a look at our example proposal in our Guide to Submitting a Micro-Internship Proposal. 

What is meant by ‘work shadowing’?

Micro-internships are designed to improve students’ professional employability skills and provide work experience. Work shadowing is considered to be an important subsidiary part of a micro-internship in allowing students to experience daily life in a professional environment.

Work shadowing can be informal, and may take the form of any activity that helps an intern gain a holistic overview of the organisation, such as sitting in on meetings, assisting with day-to-day tasks, or observing a notable project or process.

Can I submit more than one proposal?

Organisations are welcome to submit more than one micro-internship opportunity, providing that adequate projects and supervision are arranged. If you would like to host different interns for separate projects, we ask that you create separate proposals.

How many interns can I host?

The number of interns is the host’s decision, although in line with our Internship Best Practice, we recommend a ratio of one supervisor to a maximum of three interns. The Internship Office can make recommendations based on your project. For new hosts, we advise starting with a lower number to assess capacity. Employers can specify the number of places on the micro-internship advert, but this number can remain flexible and dependent on the applications received.

Does the location of my organisation matter?

At present, participation in the Micro-Internship Programme is limited to organisations in the UK and Germany.

For Oxfordshire micro-internships, we expect that interns should be able to travel to and from the host organisation on a daily basis without the need to seek alternative accommodation to their regular student accommodation. This means we are seeking placements ideally located no more than 30 minutes’ travel time from the centre of Oxford by bike or public transport, as most student accommodation is in central Oxford.

All other placements should be easily accessible via public transport. Hosts are also able to organise alternative transport such as car shares if public transport is not accessible. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

Can I meet with interns before the placement week?

Absolutely! Many hosts (and students) find it beneficial to organise an induction or meeting before the micro-internship to discuss the project and meet other staff. Both find that this saves time on the first day of the placement.

The role and responsibilities of the host employer

The host organisation has the following responsibilities:

  • Provide an accurate and reasonably detailed description of the internship offered, including an overview of the skills required by the ideal candidate(s).
  • Select intern(s) from the pool of applicants who apply through the programme within the agreed time-frame (this will be communicated by email from the Internship Office).
  • Provide the internship as described (or an appropriate alternative subject to prior discussion with the University and the student(s)).
  • Provide intern(s) with an appropriate space and any equipment necessary to carry out their internship.
  • Fully reimburse intern(s) with local travel expenses (within the relevant city) and lunch expenses for the duration of the internship. For-profit organisations in Oxfordshire must reimburse all travel within Oxfordshire for the micro-internship, and for-profit organisations in London must reimburse an Oxford-London week bus pass (approx. £60). All expenses are reimbursed only on submission of receipts.
  • Designate a point of contact within the organisation, who will discuss practical arrangements with the intern before their arrival, support the intern(s), and act as the primary contact for communications with the University of Oxford.
  • Comply with local health and safety obligations in relation to the internship(s)
  • Provide assurance that your organisation’s insurance will cover potential liability that may arise from the internship(s).
  • Provide feedback to the University of Oxford by evaluating the intern(s) at the end of the placement.
  • Abide by the spirit of the University of Oxford Equality Policy.
  • Limit all micro-internships to 5 days. Any further relationship between external (outside of the University of Oxford) hosts and intern(s) should be arranged separately and directly between host and intern; it is expected that students would be remunerated if engaged on a full internship or to undertake work. Hosts within the University of Oxford must contact the Internship Office before offering any role or full internship to a micro-intern.
This information was last updated on 17 August 2018.
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