The Micro-Internship Programme: Host Testimonials

Read what employers have to say about taking part in the Oxford University’s Micro-Internshp programme. Click on the organisation names below.


If you are a recruiter looking to offer a micro-internship then please take a look at our Micro-Internships: Employer Information webpage.

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  Lavinia Abell, Programme Manager 

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What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

We hosted six interns, who had two tasks: during the first half of the week, they focused on content creation and blog writing; in the second half of the week, they were tasked with researching and designing a brand new online course product for our Oxford summer school venture. They conducted market research, and in teams put together an operational and marketing strategy. This strategy is being implemented this week – so they were very successful! We were very impressed at all the interns’ dedication, flexibility, and strategic insights.

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

We hosted daily, sometimes twice daily, Zoom video conferences in order for them to present their work, ask any questions, and receive their next brief. The interns also set up a group chat together in order to collaborate on the projects.

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

This internship was not originally intended to be remote, but had to be made so given the extraordinary circumstances, but the quality of the interns’ work has been as high as or higher than I would have expected for an in-person internship. I would recommend hosting a group of interns rather than just one as they have been able to collaborate very well and keep each other company during what might otherwise have been a less stimulating experience.

  Alice Purkiss, National Trust Partnership Lead

What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

A group of six interns undertook individual research projects on different National Trust properties to support the National Trust’s 2021 public programme. The interns were each given a historic site and a list of key research questions which they answered by consulting a wide range of online archives and resources – from census records and historic newspapers to digitised books and journal articles. Each intern then created a detailed report which have been shared with National Trust property teams and curators.

The interns were brilliant throughout the week and have submitted excellent reports.

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

We held three group videoconferences with the interns throughout the week to provide an opportunity for them to ask questions about the project, explore the themes, share tips and useful sources, and for general questions about careers in the heritage sector. We held a longer session on the Friday afternoon (1.5hrs) where each intern presented their key findings and reflections.

We used Microsoft Teams for the calls which worked much better than Skype, especially for the students with issues around internet and VPN access abroad. We had a slight challenge with time zone differences (one student was in Dubai, one in China) but managed to schedule the calls at a time that everyone could join in.

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

I was really impressed by the interns’ enthusiasm and the quality of work they produced despite the lack access to resources, the need for remote working and their geographical spread around the world and across time zones. They all contributed brilliantly to the group discussions via videoconference, and have produced excellent written reports which will inform future National Trust work. I’m very much looking forward to hosting another remote micro-internship next term.

My top tips for hosting a remote placement are: Make sure you have a very clear brief and deliverable(s) shared with the interns ahead of the placement, and schedule regular group catch-ups which provide lots of time for questions as well as wider discussion.

  Julie Taylor, Founder and Director 

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What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

As part of his virtual internship, our intern created a month’s worth of social media content for Instagram and Facebook, using existing photography and advance-scheduling platform Bufferapp. They also interviewed a Johannesburg-based artist Mario Soares, wrote up the interview using the information they gathered and laid it out beautifully (PDF). In addition, they laid out some existing content about artist Bev Butkow (PDF).

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

We had about 3 video meetings over Skype, and used email and Whatsapp on a regular basis throughout the day as needed.

One of the video meetings gave they a chance to meet other gallery team members as well.

They conduced the artist interview over Whatsapp.

We were able to introduce the intern to our gallery community/audience via our newsletter as well.

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

The intern was very competent and enthusiastic, and I loved hosting them.  I can strongly recommend a virtual internship and do not see any reason why employers can’t still find plenty of useful things for interns to do!  Obviously having good wifi and willingness to use online tools is critical.

  Alexa Virdi, Director 

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What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

The interns worked on research on early education through critical race lens and research into history of women featured in Super Sapiens. Very successful

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

I emailed them the weekend before they started to ask which intern wanted to work on which project. By the Monday work was allocated based on preference. We started a WhatsApp group for the interns but mainly stayed in touch via email.

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

My impression is that it worked just as well as if we had been physically together!

 Linda Hull, Development Co-Ordinator 

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What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

We needed a wikipedia page and one of our interns, who is an expert in this (having been making them since he was 10!) did the most wonderfully comprehensive job, even whilst traveling back to the Netherlands. Their work can be found on the The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay Wikipedia page.

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

I sent him some materials, as did the other two interns who were researching the history for him and they worked together extremely well. My trustees and co-workers were absolutely delighted with the result!

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

All three interns worked together and did a brilliant job!

  Ruth Murray, Project Administrator

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What task did you get the intern(s) to undertake remotely and how successful were they?

The aim for the internships was to explore the application of the Quill technology and approach to modern Parliamentary process in the UK by modelling the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 and the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

One of the innovative features of the project has been the creation of a digital environment in which undergraduate students are able to collaborate with each other and academic mentors on substantive research questions and the production of a digital edition, and we were able to capitalise on this technology to allow interns access to the Quill digital platform remotely. The Digital Curator had already prepared a training manual for their use, and at the beginning of the week, she ran an induction seminar via Zoom to give everyone a chance to introduce themselves and to demonstrate how to model legislation in the platform.

How did you go about supervising your intern(s) remotely, were there methods that were more successful than others?

We had two teams of three interns, with each team allocated to one of the Acts we were modelling that week. Each team also had their own Mattermost chatroom to communicate with each other and plan their work. Members of the Quill team had access to both chatrooms and were able to troubleshoot and answer questions as they came up. Once a day, the students would check in with the Digital Curator and sometimes other members of Quill over Zoom.

What was your lasting impression of hosting an intern remotely and do you have any tips for employers looking to undertake a placement remotely next term?

At the end of the week, we were very happy with what had been achieved. Further modelling and corrections by the Quill team will be necessary before the models go live, but considerable progress was made. Feedback from the group was also very positive, with three interns volunteering to join a project to model the Covid-19 bill during their self-isolation and another expressing interest in a one-year trainee position we are currently advertising.

  Philip Grover, Assistant Curator, Photograph and Manuscript Collections

In spite of the disruption, our intern achieved an enormous amount in the time available. During her first four days of work she was able to digitise a recently donated collection of historic photographs taken in Tibet by Ronald Kaulback (1933 & 1939), and she has used the subsequent time of working off-site and at home to catalogue this material in detail, also drawing on the photographer’s two books about his travels. Her notes and catalogue records will be incorporated into the museum’s records in due course, thus providing a valuable resource for further research.

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