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Icon welcomes individuals and organisations from all backgrounds who identify with the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage.  Our membership embraces the entire conservation community as well as members of the public who are keen to learn more or show their support for conservation work.


Internships PDF Print E-mail

Icon Internship Programme - New Opportunities for Work-Based Learning

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Anna Zwagerman, National Trust for Scotland

Since 2006, Icon has administered and delivered a highly successful work based training bursary scheme in the UK, originally funded by a 2.45 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Dedicated to supporting emerging conservators by offering Internship opportunities which supplements formal academic training as well as provide new entry routes into the profession, Icon has during this time gone on to use the HLF framework to work with other grant-making bodies and employers to offer additional Icon Internships,

If you are interested in either funding or hosting through self-funding an Icon Internship we would be pleased to hear from you.

Our Experience

Icon works with partners to run internships that are fully-funded and underpinned by professional conservation standards.Since 2006, Icon has successfully managed over 125 full time, one year internships in the full range of conservation specialisms supported by hosts in public, private and charitable establishments across the UK. 96% of Icon interns are still employed or enrolled on training courses in the heritage sector.

How Does it Work?

Setting the scene: Each internship is different and needs to be tailored to the type of workbased placement you want to offer and for how long. It is important to work out what projects the intern would likely experience over that period of time. It may be a specific project or a wide range of work. Work experience in management and business skills are as valid as practical conservation work. A balance of both would be ideal.

Recruitment & Induction: Icon works closely with the host during the recruitment process to make the best appointment. An Intern Adviser is appointed for each placement, attends the interview and offers mentor support throughout the period of the placement. Induction training for interns and hosts is provided by Icon’s Professional Development Team.

Monitoring & Reports: Using the Skills in Practice framework based on Icon’s Professional Standards will ensure a consistent, high level learning experience for the intern as well as provide a source of professional development for the intern, the supervisor and other host organisation staff.


Jemma Edwards, English Heritage. Icon works with major institutions

Funding Partners

Funds for internships may come from charities, friends’ organisations, individual sponsors or amenity bodies involved in supporting heritage, museum or craft skills.

Many employers also recognise the value of funding an intern themselves, for example, it can help develop skills in other staff. Conservation contractors involved in tendering or making major grant applications have also found it beneficial to build an Icon placement into their training plans.

Download the current costs for hosting a 6 month  or 12 months placement whether it is for a new entrant to the profession, a new graduate, or a conservator who has some initial experience and the placement involves elements of research and further study.

The Heritage & Crafts Funders Network list of organisations  offers information about possible funding opportunities for internships.

Under a signed agreement between Icon and the host organisation a timetable for invoicing is agreed. Payments usually follow the quarterly reporting schedule for the duration of the internship. A separate agreement is made with the Intern and bursaries are paid out in quarters over the year, following satisfactory reports received from the intern.


Liz Ralph, PZ Conservation, Penzance. Interns help with participation events

Icon can discuss your ideas and help you set up a paid work-based training programme (internship) at any time of the year.

Download the recommended placement start-up timetable

It is your internship, however, Icon manages the internship through our tried and tested ‘Skills in Practice’ framework, based on the Professional Standards, which ensures the Intern is making demonstrable progress throughout.

Icon manages the:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Induction programme for Interns and Supervisors
  • Regular monitoring visits from experienced Icon appointed Intern Advisers
  • Quarterly Reports structure, supporting Intern’s professional development
  • Bursary payments on receipt of reports
  • Networking opportunities
  • Ongoing evaluation


Ioannis Vasallos, National Galleries of Scotland.

Icon's Intern Advisers

Each Internship is supported by one of our three Interns Advisers. 




Lorna Calcutt

Fiona Macalister

Sarah Gerrish

The Intern Adviser is there to support the Intern and Supervisor in the period leading up to, as well as throughout the placement. Their role is to listen and advise as well as assist with the build-up of useful contacts and networks.  They will arrange to make 3-4 visits to the workplace over a 12 month placement (this will vary for shorter or longer placements) and will be available on a day to day basis via telephone or email.

© 2015 Icon - The Institute of Conservation. Icon is registered as a Charity in England and Wales (Number 1108380) and in Scotland (Number SC039336) and is a Company Limited by Guarantee, (Number 5201058)
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