At IIED, we see internships as a mutually positive experience. Interns bring different skills and ideas into the organisation. IIED provides work experience in sustainable development and an opportunity to become familiar with the type of work and activities associated with an international career in this field, such as influencing policy, action-research, networking and advocacy. Due to the size of the institute, we only take a limited number of interns per year and, in order to open opportunities to the entire community, we do not offer unpaid voluntary positions.
Intern positions may become available not only for our research programmes (climate change, human settlements, natural resources, and sustainable markets) but also for our communications, partnerships and human resources departments as well as with the Green Economy Coalition, whose secretariat is currently based at IIED. IIED welcomes applicants with a variety of backgrounds internationally, although in general applicants will need to prove they have a current right to work in the UK to be considered.
We have started collecting experiences and stories from our past interns to give you a flavour of what you can expect from an internship at IIED. Read Tony Stonehouse's experience of interning at IIED and a blog by Dugald Macdonald on his experiences of being a Richard Sandbrook scholar at IIED.
You can also get more tips and advice on what working in the sustainable development field requires directly from our staff by watching their video clips.
Paid internship positions: How to apply, who should apply
IIED offers paid internships through an external company called 'STEP'. We do not accept speculative applications. When intern positions are available they will be advertised on the jobs page of our website. Applicants are required to follow the application instruction on the advertisement.
In order to apply applicants must meet the STEP programme eligibility criteria (internships are open to current students and recent graduates of UK universities, at both graduate and postgraduate level). Unfortunately at present we are unable to accept applications from those who do not meet these criteria. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a short interview. Due to limited resources we are unable to respond to all candidates, therefore if you have not heard from us within four weeks of the closing date, your application has been unsuccessful.
Unpaid internship positions: How to apply, who should apply
IIED has a number of formal arrangements with other organisations for internship positions, which include Forum for the Future and King's College London (KCL). Application details are supplied by these respective organisations to those who are eligible (such as people on relevant masters courses at these institutions).
We aim to meet the principles of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) voluntary code of practice – The Internship Charter.
Interns are selected through a competitive process. They are expected to work full-time or part-time depending on their assignment and availability. They may work partly in the office and partly outside. The types of tasks cover all aspects of IIED work from clerical tasks right through to research assistance. Interns may be asked to complete routine tasks as well as contribute to the implementation of one or more specific projects. All interns are encouraged to take part in organisation-wide activities and discussions to make the most of their experience with IIED. The duration of their assignment may vary but needs to be a minimum of 12 weeks and does not usually exceed six months.
Unfortunately at present IIED is unable to offer work experience placements to people under 18 years of age. If you are over 18 and interested in work experience, please take a look at the information on this page regarding internships with IIED.
The only exception is an institutional arrangement with Haverstock Hill School, a two-week period where we demonstrate our commitment to fostering a local partnership as part of our responsible operations policy.
We distinguish between paid interns who are recruited by IIED but paid by STEP the London Living Wage (National Minimum Wage in Edinburgh), and unpaid interns who are sponsored by an external organisation, such as KCL. For unpaid interns through such organisations, we offer to reimburse travel and lunch expenses up to a certain level.