ESRC Digital Good Network

Resources on best practice for hosting interns

We encourage all our internship hosts to familiarise themselves with best practice in the area. Useful resources include:

Common Best Practice Code For High-Quality Internships, published by the Trades Union Congress on behalf of the Gateways to the Professions collaborative Forum, September 2013

Internships that work: a guide for employers, published by Chartered Institute of Personel and Development (CIPD), March 2022

Best practice includes treating interns with the professionalism and duty of care that would be given to a regular employee; ensuring interns and fellows take part in a clear ‘onboarding’ or induction process when they join the organisation for their placement, which may include health and safety training, or introduction to workspaces and IT equipment; offering to provide a reference for the intern, which is likely to prove valuable in future career planning. 

All interns will have a named member of staff at their host organisation who will be responsible for ensuring the intern or fellow has access to the resources needed to undertake the activities outlined in their application. That named member of staff also will act as a first point of contact for any queries or concerns that the intern may have. 

Because the Digital Good Network Research Internship Scheme is intended to help build capacity through skills development and gaining experience of working in different industries and disciplines, interns will also benefit from that named member of staff offering supervisory support or mentorship for the duration of the placement – for example, via regular ring fenced time for check-ins and catch-ups, so learning and experiences can be consolidated. 

Host organisations should therefore be confident that the named member of staff on the application is given the time and support to ensure they can provide this to the intern or applicant. It may be useful to involve the PhD supervisor in some catch-ups, to ensure that the student retains a link to their institution and studies during the placement period.