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Icon’s Internship Programme offers structured support for emerging conservators to kick start their careers

At its core, the Icon Internship Programme (IIP) allows the host to focus on what it does best: providing training to the intern in their specialist area. At the same time, Icon takes the lead in aligning the professional development of the intern to the Professional Standards in Conservation, also taking the burden of recruitment and management of bursary payments from the internship hosts.

Over the years we have helped to support over 175 placements across a wide range of conservation disciplines. Most internships are either 6 or 12 months in length – however, each is unique to the type of projects being worked on and the type of organisation in which the internship is hosted.

We do this through our tried and tested delivery model which is supported by our team of Intern Advisors, who take the interns through a structured programme of training on Icon’s Professional Standards in Conservation which ensures the Intern is making real progress throughout the internship.

To find out more please take a look at our internship leaflet

Image: Matt Wreford

Setting up an IIP

How IIP works


HLF evaluation

Setting up an IIP


Hosting an internship can be a rewarding experience for any heritage or conservation organisation. Icon can take you through the whole process.

Initial plans

We can help you from the first stage, in helping you identify areas where you could take on an intern, through to developing role descriptions and thinking about the support arrangements you need in place. To find our more or to talk through your ideas please email Susan Bradshaw, Head of Professional Development.

Funding arrangements

Getting your funding in place to support the internship is essential. Funding can be drawn from a wide range of sources including those outlined in the documents section. Icon can support you in preparing your applications. To find out more or to talk through your ideas please email Susan Bradshaw, Head of Professional Development.

How IIP works


The delivery model is designed to ensure the candidate has a strong understanding of the Professional Standards and the right skillset to give them the best possible start in their career in conservation.

Administrative support

Icon’s Professional Development Team monitors the programme and administers all bursaries and training allowances. Icon is also on hand to provide support and guidance to the host and the supervisor to ensure that they have all the information they need themselves to make it a successful programme for all parties.

Development support

Candidates are required to submit quarterly reports highlighting their work over the last quarter and to consider their future development opportunities. This is supported by the Activity Monitor through which candidates and supervisors work together to assess the intern’s skills and areas for development across the Professional Standards in conservation.

Intern Advisor

Icon’s team of intern advisors are all ACRs and between them have supported dozens of interns right across the UK. As well as supporting on the recruitment of the intern, they meet with the intern on a quarterly basis, but are also on hand throughout to provide pastoral support and care to the intern.

Networking events

A key skill of any professional, and key in supporting career development. The interns are encouraged to work with each other as well as attending conferences and other training programmes to start developing their professional networks.

Recruitment and induction

Icon works closely with the host during the recruitment process to make the best appointment.

Training allowances

Training Allowances are usually built in to provide training opportunities to interns which aren't available in their studio or require the intern to go elsewhere to learn. Icon recommend that the bursaries are at least £16,000 per year and are typically paid on a quarterly basis. 


Preventive Conservation, National Trust for Scotland

12 month Internship starting October 2018
Location: Newhailes House, Musselburgh
Educational Stipend: £17,000 

This internship is hosted by the National Trust for Scotland, supported by the Trust’s Bute Memorial Fund and managed in partnership with Icon.

The focus of the internship will be assisting with a number of projects due to happen at Newhailes over the next year, including a large-scale moth eradication project and the development of a plan for the conservation, display and interpretation of the house and its collections.

Alongside this the intern will have the opportunity to be involved with the delivery of preventive conservation activities (environmental monitoring and control, light management, IPM and housekeeping) to further embed and raise standards at this and other Trust properties. 

The closing date is 23rd July at noon. 

Textiles Conservation, The Bowes Museum

12 month Internship starting September 2018
Location: Barnard Castle, County Durham 
Educational Stipend: £16,000 plus £1,000 training allowance

The Bowes Museum, in partnership with Icon, and with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is offering a programme of Textile Conservation internships from 2014 to 2019. The intern to work within the conservation department, and alongside the department of textile and dress.

The intern will join the Textile Conservator in working towards the re-display of the Textiles and Dress Gallery though conservation assessments, treatments and mounting. As part of the conservation team, the interns will gain practical, preventive and workplace skills, tailored to help them develop their careers in conservation.

The closing date is 12th July at 5pm.  

HLF evaluation


Between 2006 and 2015, Icon administered a highly successful work-based training bursary scheme in the UK. It was funded by a £2.45m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with over £1m additional funding from partners and hosts. The scheme, ‘New routes to learning through work-based training’, saw 146 internships secured across 38 conservation disciplines.

External evaluation of the HLF-funded internship scheme (October 2015):  

Executive summary
Final report
Press release