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.