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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 £17,000 per year and are typically paid on a quarterly basis. 


1806 - Royal Armouries

Arms & Armour

Royal Armouries has three museums across the United Kingdom and cares for one of the most important national collections of arms and armour in the world. Our collection is displayed and housed in our historical home at the White Tower in the Tower of London, at the purpose-built Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, and at Fort Nelson near Fareham, Hampshire.

Funded by the Clothworkers’ Foundation, the internship will focus on the conservation of arms and armour giving the intern the opportunity to develop research, analytical, practical experience and knowledge within the specialist area of arms and armour conservation

Closing date: 9am, 8th October 2018
Interviews: Week commencing 15th October 2018

1807 - Bowes Museum


The Bowes Museum, in partnership with Icon, and with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is offering a programme of Paintings Conservation internships from 2014 to 2019. The Museum will host one paintings intern per year, to work within the conservation department.

Closing date: 9am, 19th September 2018
Interviews: Week commencing 1st October 2018

1808 - National Library of Scotland


This conservation internship is part of a programme of Alexander Graham Traineeships at the National Library of Scotland, and is being managed in partnership with the Institute of Conservation. It is intended that the internship will focus upon the conservation of some particularly unstable types of paper objects, such as newspapers. This is a priority because the Library has a large and significant collection of newspapers, many of which are beginning to deteriorate. A strategy is therefore urgently needed to decide how to conserve them, to plan their digitisation where appropriate and to take preventive measures to ensure their long-term preservation.

Applications should be made via the NLS recruitment website only. 

Closing date: 5pm, 17th September 2018

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