Volunteers and interns
At IIED we see internships as a mutually positive experience. Volunteers and 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, i.e. influencing policy, action-research, networking, advocacy, etc. Due to the size of the Institute, we only take a limited number of volunteers and interns per year.
We have started collecting experiences and stories from our past interns and volunteers 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 watching their video clips.
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, King’s College London, and the Richard Sandbrook Scholarship. Application details are supplied by these respective organisations to those who are eligible (e.g. people on relevant Masters courses at these institutions).
If we have any internship vacancies that are open for general applications they will be advertised on the website under the jobs section, along with details of how to apply. Please do not send speculative applications as we are unable to accept these.
Volunteer positions: How to apply, who should apply
We do not accept speculative applications. When volunteer and 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. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a short interview.
Volunteer and 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 and Human Resources departments as well as with the Green Economy Coalition whose secretariat is currently based at IIED. Usually, candidates are about to complete, or have just completed, their graduate studies and seek to obtain some initial work experience. However, IIED welcomes applicants with a variety of backgrounds internationally.
We aim to meet the principles of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) voluntary code of practice - The Internship Charter.
Volunteers and 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. Volunteers/interns in the Communications and Human Resources departments may be asked to complete routine tasks as well as contribute to the implementation of one or more specific projects. All volunteers and 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 does not usually exceed six months.
Unfortunately IIED are 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 volunteering and internships with IIED.
We distinguish between volunteers who do not receive a salary from IIED or another organisation and interns who are sponsored by an external organisation, e.g. KCL, Exeter College. While volunteers/interns are not being paid to work at IIED, we offer to reimburse travel and lunch expenses up to a certain level.