The Micro-Internship Programme - Employer Information

The Micro-Internship Programme offers organisations 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 in the student's vacation periods. We run the Programme 4 times a year, once during the student’s Christmas Vacation (December), once during Easter Vacation (March) and twice in their Summer Vacation (June/July & again in September).

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.

Whilst micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, host organisations must reimburse interns with both local travel expenses (within the relevant city, e.g. Oxford, and not inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on submission of receipts if the student physically attends their internship. Should a student complete the micro-internship remotely from their home, the host organisation will not be required to cover these expenses (unless they require them to undertake any travel as part of the internship). Please note that for December 2020, all placements must be completed remotely from the student's home and therefore the host will not be required to cover any expenses. As such, no travel will be permitted as part of any micro-internship in December 2020. 

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

What are the benefits of hosting a micro-internship?

  • They are 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 and for the administration of processing applications to present to the host organisations.

What are the benefits for interns?

  • Gaining valuable work experience to add to their CV.
  • A chance 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.
  • They 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

Work experience provision

In order for an internship to be eligible to be advertised through the Micro-Internship Programme, it must include 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 placements interns 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.

The Micro-Internship Programme coordinates placements in four cycles over the course of each academic year, coinciding with the vacation period at the end of each Oxford University term. Once during the student’s Christmas Vacation (December), once during Easter Vacation (March) and once at the start of their Summer Vacation (June/July) and once at the end of their Summer Vacation (September). The placement dates for academic year 2020/21 will be as follows:

  • Michealmas cycle (Christmas Vacation): 7-11 December OR 14-18 December 2020.
  • Hilary cycle (Easter Vacation): 15-19 March OR 22-26 March 2021
  • Trinity cycle (Start of Summer Vacation): 21 - 25 June OR 28 June - 2 July 2021
  • Summer Vacation cycle (End of Summer Vacation): 6-11 September OR 13-17 September 2021

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.

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.

When should I submit my internship proposal(s)?

Project proposals are accepted throughout the year, with the following deadlines for 2020/21:

  • Deadline for Michealmas cycle (Christmas Vacation) internship proposals: 6 October 2020

  • Deadline for Hilary cycle (Easter Vacation) internship proposals: 12 January 2021
  • Deadline for Trinity cycle (Start of Summer Vacation) internship proposals: 20 April 2021
  • Deadline for Summer Vacation cycle (End of Summer Vacation) internship proposal: 9 July 2021

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 guides to submitting proposals (see links above), which include 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 individuals 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 those with disabilities – the Internship Office strives to make its internship programmes accessible to all, and this includes individuals with disabilities. In the UK, this is in line with the 2010 Equality Act. Please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with any questions.

What happens once the proposal is approved?

All micro-internships are advertised on specific dates (please see timeline and key date tabs for details). The Internship Office is responsible for marketing all placements and responding to applicant queries on your behalf. We also provide Application Support Sessions where we give 1:1 advice.

How do potential interns apply?

Students have approximately two and a half weeks in which to apply for a maximum of two micro-internships at a time, making their application directly to the Internship Office through CareerConnect. Our application requirement is a CV and 300-word personal statement.The closing date is set by the Internship Office.

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. Due to the quick turn around, most hosts make their selection based solely on the application. However, you can use your own selection process and are welcome to contact candidates directly to arrange interviews via Skype or over the telephone if wished.

You then advise us of your preferred choice of intern(s) and any reserve candidates, if applicable. 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 Skype or telephone induction 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.

Will interns be paid?

Whilst micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, host organisations must reimburse interns with both local travel expenses (within the relevant city, e.g. Oxford, and not inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on submission of receipts if the student physically attends their internship. Should a student complete the micro-internship remotely from their home, the host organisation will not be required to cover these expenses (unless they require them to undertake any travel as part of the internship). Please note that for December 2020, all placements must be completed remotely from the student's home and therefore the host will not be required to cover any expenses. Therefore, we ask that all hosts make sure that no travel will be required as part of the placements in December 2020. 

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 Guides to Submitting a Micro-Internship Proposal. We also have guidance on Setting up a Remote Micro-Internship.

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?

Please note that we recommend a ratio of one supervisor to a maximum of three interns. This is in line with our Internship Best Practice. 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, the Micro-Internship Programme is limited to those that wish to host an intern remotely. Therefore, no matter where you are based in the world, we can arrange for your micro-internship to be undertaken from a student’s home. 

Can I meet with interns before the placement week?

We recommend organising a short Skype or telephone induction prior to the placement week – this is often beneficial to both student and host, to meet colleagues and understand further details of the project.

The host organisation has the following responsibilities:

  • Provide an accurate and reasonably detailed description of the internship project(s) offered and the duties associated with it (them), including an overview of the skills required by the ideal candidate(s)
  • The internships should only be for Oxford students who apply through the programme. You may advertise similar internships/placements elsewhere, but those entered into the programme should be set aside with the intention of taking participants from Oxford.
  • Select participants(s) from the pool of applicants who apply through the programme.  Telephone (or face-to-face) interviews should be conducted, and direct contact established with potential interns. Reasonable travel expenses must be provided for face-to-face interviews.
  • Provide the placement project as described (or an appropriate alternative project subject to prior discussion with the Internship Office and the student(s)/research staff)
  • Provide participants(s) with an appropriate work-space and equipment necessary to carry out the placement project work
  • Designate a point of contact within the organisation, who will discuss practical arrangements with the participant before their arrival, supervise the participant(s), and act as the primary contact for communications with the University of Oxford. Should the intern work remotely, please assure a similar level of supervision is provided (i.e regular telephone catch-up etc).
  • Provide the participant(s) with a stipend and/or other assistance (for example, accommodation), as agreed with the Internship Office prior to the start of the internship/placement. For Micro-internships this must be local travel expenses (within the relevant city) and lunch expenses for the duration of the internship/placement. All expenses are reimbursed only on submission of receipts. Please note this also applies for any micro-intern undertaking their placement remotely.
  • Comply with local health and safety obligations in relation to the internship/placement(s)
  • Provide assurance that your organisation’s insurance will cover potential liability that may arise from the internship(s)/placement(s). This includes checking with your policy holder that your insurance covers the intern working remotely.
  • Where necessary, sponsor the intern for a visa covering the duration of the placement
  • Provide feedback to the University of Oxford by evaluating the participant(s) at the end of the placement.
  • Make any necessary and reasonable adjustments to accommodate the participants in the case of disability or additional needs, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the University of Oxford Equality Policy.
  • All micro-internships must be limited to a maximum of 5 days. Any further relationship between external (outside of the University of Oxford) hosts and interns should be arranged separately and directly between host and participant; it is expected that students or research staff would be remunerated if engaged on a full internship/placement or to undertake work. Hosts within the University of Oxford must contact the Internship Office before offering any role or full internship to a participant.
  • Please note that the Micro-Internship Programme is open to all matriculated students, including those who have suspended their studies for the time being. More information can be found on students who have suspended their studies.
  • Please note that it is the responsibility of the host organisation to ensure that it complies with employment law in engaging the participant including (where applicable) the payment of National Minimum Wage. We assume, if the micro-internship or micro-placement is advertised as unpaid, that the host organisation has done an appropriate assessment and concluded that the opportunity can lawfully be offered on an unpaid basis.
  • University departments who are offering unpaid micro-internships or micro-placements should ensure that they provide the participant with a volunteer agreement (template agreement available from the Careers’ Service) and only reimburse travel expenses and reasonable lunch costs on submission of receipts from the micro-intern. No other payments or benefits should be offered.

Who can host a micro-intern remotely

At present, the Micro-Internship Programme is limited to those that wish to host an intern remotely. Over the years, we have seen many interns’ successfully complete projects whilst working from home. Therefore, no matter where you are based in the world, we can arrange for your micro-internship to be undertaken from a student’s home. Check out our guide on how to Set Up a Remote Internship.

How can I supervise a micro-intern remotely

Supervising a micro-intern remotely is very similar to how you would supervise a student who physically attends your office. However, we appreciate there will be some differences. Where you can, we advise undertaking regular video calls with your intern. On the interns first day, undertake a video call with your intern(s) to discuss the project with them and lay out an initial plan.  During this call, make the intern(s) aware of your working hours, so that they know when they can contact you with their questions. Additionally, schedule in regular video catch-ups with your intern(s) to check in on them. From experience, some hosts undertake a video call with their intern once a day and follow this up with telephone calls later in the day, whereas others undertake a video call first thing in the morning and then again towards the end of the day. However you decide to do this, we advise offering them the same level of support you would offer them if they we physical present in your office.

We are having a team meeting; can the intern(s) join in?

At current, many of us are working from home and undertaking video conference calls. Therefore, if you deem appropriate, please do extend the invitation out to your intern. This will expose them to a meeting setting and allow them to gain further employability skills.

Reimbursing micro-interns that work remotely

There is no requirement for a host to cover any expenses when the micro-internship is completed remotely from the student's home. Should you require the student to undertake any travel as part of the internship, you will be required to cover this travel and lunch expenses, on submission of receipt. If the internship is based at your office, you will be reuired to cover local travel and lunch expenses. Please note that all micro-internships are required to be completed from home in December 2020. Therefore, no travel is to be permited as part of the internship during this time.

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