Tag: interns

Summer interns 2024

I aim to  promote an inclusive culture in my organisation. I have a focus on promoting cross-generational working. We welcome student interns as staff, and while not all students are young, they do tend to lower the average age about the place.

I am delighted to have such a great group of interns who work with us in Learning, Teaching and Web Services (LTW) all year, across all of our teams and projects.

Currently we host around 40 interns. In the summer we will add around 20 more.

I am pleased to see we will have new interns looking at AI in L&D, Green Web Estate, VLE Excellence, Web Migration, Accessibility, Training and Events and Communications.

All our internships are paid. We aim to support students at times of rising living costs by providing high quality work experience opportunities which will offer them a head start into digital jobs in the future.

The 2024 summer internship adverts are live on Unitemps: University of Edinburgh Jobs – Unitemps

improving accessibility

Every year we take a snapshot of accessibility in our VLE. Over the summer 3,508 documents across 1,441 courses from across the University were reviewed against a defined selection of accessibility criteria by our excellent team of interns. The results were encouraging:

87.6% of documents reviewed were named appropriately (i.e. so that users can anticipate the contents in advance of opening the files)
Within the documents checked, 74.4% used a more accessible font (sans serif)
80.7% of documents were justified/aligned in a way that supports more users (i.e. not centre or fully justified)
Italics text is harder for some people to read in blocks, and 89.4% of documents contained no blocks of italics. The same counts for blocks of capital letters, and a whopping 97.9% of documents contained no blocks of capital letters.

Well done to all at University of Edinburgh who are changing their practice to be more inclusive.

creating an inclusive organisation

I aim to  promote an inclusive culture in my organisation. I have a focus on promoting cross-generational working. We welcome student interns as staff, and while not all students are young, they do tend to lower the average age about the place.

I am delighted to have such a great group of interns who will work with us all year across all of our teams and projects.

Joining our two Napier Web Development Interns (who work with us full-time) and our Web Governance Intern ( who has been with us for ages), we also have this year: a Digital Content Training Research Intern, a  Digital Marketing Intern, a Diversity Recruitment and Attraction Intern,  a Media Administration Intern, an Edtech Operations Intern, a Design System and Web Media Intern, a Nudge Intern, a Student Notifications Service Software Developer Intern, a User Research Intern,  2 Digital Learning Interns,  7 Learn Foundations Interns, 4 Web Content Migration Liaison Assistants and a Digital Skills Trainer – Coding Intern!

I will also be having regular ‘Heads Learn from Interns’ session where the LTW senior management team will hear recommendations and advice from the interns, based on their insights and expertise.

And yes, many of our interns do stay, or return and have careers with us after they graduate.

Nudges in learning tech

I am delighted to have been able to create a post this summer for a ‘Nudge Intern’ to work with us to think about how we can use Nudge theory  in designing our services and supporting our users.

Annika has written a blog about her thinking and a report for me about why I need a longer term role in my team.  I must say, she has convinced me and if she agrees, we will keep her as part of our team for the rest of this year.

The team uses a human-centred design approach and an iterative development process incorporating feedback and gradual improvement. These similarities make the UX and Digital Consultancy team a great place to begin to incorporate nudges. There are complexities that make implementing nudges more challenging but should prove to be surmountable given additional time. It takes time to come up to speed on longer-term projects. Planning nudges should take place throughout the project timeline and be implemented as an iterative process with feedback. Additionally, the University structure with self- governing schools and deaneries makes it difficult to implement comprehensive nudges. Instead, individual nudges may need to be drafted for each.

Groups within LTW that already identify pain points are better prepared to start nudging. Being able to spot and define unwanted behaviour easily makes designing a nudge simpler.
The report provides recommendations for continuing the work of implementing nudges in LTW. The first recommendation involves nudging users toward creating better online
content. The existing resources are excellent but are being underutilised. I discuss recommendations to bring the guidelines to the users while using the Web Publishing Platform. Next, I outline a recommendation to enhance the use of data analytics within LTW. There is a need to combine the preexisting data into a format to facilitate and inform data-driven decision-making. The final recommendation is to introduce nudges in ways of working. This would increase familiarity with what nudges are and how to implement them.”


Read more about nudges How nudge can help you and your users – Website and Communications Blog (ed.ac.uk)

digital internships

A picture of some of our interns in previopus years. Picture not taken by me. Original at: http://www.teaching-matters-blog.ed.ac.uk/mini-series-turning-internships-into-blog-posts-and-friendship-into-teamwork/

In common with many other universities we worked with students over the summer  to prepare for hybrid learning and teaching.  LTW recruited and managed 44 student interns who migrated over 3000 courses from 20 schools into the institutional template in our VLE.

The Learn Foundations project team is experienced in employing student interns to support business requirements generated as a result of the implementation of the Learn Foundations approach.  This year however, the number of interns working with the team and School colleagues was quadrupled and the students all had to work remotely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the support provided by the student interns, the following was achieved:

  • Over 3000 20/21 courses migrated onto the Learn Foundations template;
  • Over 1000 of the above courses supported with content migration;
  • Over 100 academics liaised with directly regarding content migration;
  • Over 600 courses were mapped with over 80, 000 items reviewed to allow for an institutional baseline for Learn courses to begin to be created;
  • Undertook over 16, 000 accessibility checks across circa 2000 19/20 Learn Courses to understand ‘how accessible’ content and courses are within Learn;

Careful thought went in to supporting the interns to bond as a team and structure their days with a mix of work, set breaks and social activities to keep them busy, motivated and refreshed.  A daily briefing session was held to discuss tasks, review progress and allocate activities, this also provided the interns with an opportunity to come together as a team.  These sessions have been positively evaluated by the students who valued the structure and sense of purpose they provided.  They also enabled students to raise questions with team members about technical questions and other issues.

“Having a set time for a call each morning was great as it provided a structure and set out the tasks. It also allowed us to feel more a part of the team.”

In addition to the morning briefing, the team instigated a twice-weekly social hour for students to come together and have a bit of fun.  These served to support team bonding and break up work flow.  These were managed by the project manager and project administrator and were positively evaluated by the students.

“The social hours were great to allow us to bond as a team. It created a healthier atmosphere and made us more comfortable working with each other.”


With such a large number of interns working remotely there was a risk that the coordination of task allocation and delivery could become fragmented and messy.  Microsoft Teams was used as a work platform with one central channel for all students and latterly, additional work specific channels were created for those students involved in certain tasks.

“I think working on Microsoft teams, having dedicated channels and a daily meeting worked well.”

There were challenges in managing workflow throughout the internship as a result of the large number of students involved and rapidly changing business requirements as a result of the speed with which School colleagues were adapting and adjusting to new ways of working.  When there was a break in workflow, students were encouraged to use LinkedIn Learning as a tool for professional development.

Hardware, software and the internet

Students were offered hardware to ensure they were able to deliver their work from home.  In previous years, computers and laptops would have been available from an office base.  Some of the students experienced a delay in receiving hardware which had an impact on their ability to get started straight away with their work.

The students commented on the challenges of remote working.  Some experienced periods of isolation and felt separated from their colleagues; most appreciated the effort that went in to building a team and keeping them involved and busy.

“It was tough doing this remotely as you couldn’t really get to know your colleagues. The social hours helped but I think it was often tough to organise fun activities with each other and people often backed out.”

“It was really nice that we were given so much social time, as it felt especially isolating working from home and not meeting other people.”

“It was challenging for a start to bond online however after a few weeks our team became quite close.”

The team was aware that technical and internet issues may impact on workflow and took positive steps to support the interns with hardware and software advice.  These issues were taken account of in the work flow to ensure the students were not placed under pressure or disadvantaged as a result of these factors which were out of their control.  This was appreciated by the students.

“The team was very understanding of technical or internet issues which was great because that could have been stressful.”

Remote working

Despite the challenges of engaging with such a large number of student interns working from home, the experience of remote working seems to have been valued by them.  They identified the challenges but most also commented on how beneficial the experience had been to them.

“It was a really developing experience because I think I learnt more about working in a team virtually than when working in the office! The number of emails and messages sent also made me much more comfortable with working online in a professional setting.”

“The opportunity to work remotely in a team has been a valuable experience. Because of this, I believe that my communication skills and confidence in working independently have improved.”

Investment and outcomes

Whilst the students have highly evaluated their internship experience, the investment required from the team to support such a large number of students and provide them with a high quality experience, was high, especially by the project manager and project administrator.  It is estimated that between them, the project manager and project administrator, invested the equivalent of 4 months of work over the internship period to supporting the students with additional resource from Colleges for supporting students allocated to them.  That said, the students delivered a collective equivalent of 21 months of work (based on the hours worked by each intern over the period).  This represents a four-fold return on investment.  The student interns effectively provided a focused resource boost, at scale, over the 5 months that they were employed.

Whilst this larger number of students has had to be carefully managed, the return has far outweighed the investment, although should this approach be adopted next year, consideration may need to be given to the appointment of an internship coordinator to ensure a continuing positive experience for the students and the ongoing quality of their work.  Feedback gained from School colleagues has been unanimously positive about the work completed by the student interns.

Without the considerable impact of the student interns, the project would not have been able to ease the burden from Schools of taking on the Learn Foundations approach, especially at such a business critical time, nor would the project have been in a position to work at such a granular level to ensure courses were effectively migrated to Learn Foundations.

With the dedicated support of the Learn Foundations team, the student interns have become ambassadors for Learn Foundations, widening the positive impact of the approach and demonstrating the value of student as partners in the delivery of University-wide activities.

Thank you, All.

Wanted: Equality image intern

A cartoon in our archives showing Noreen Murray as a schoolgirl being reprimanded for making clones of herself in the laboratory (a reference to Noreen’s work cloning DNA)

University of Edinburgh Library and Collections has a huge number of image collections with a wide range of art, science, portraits, people, cartoons and photographs. We would like to open up some of these images to make them more discoverable and usable as images of role models, women in science, women in medicine, diverse groups and positive representations.

Job Purpose:
Your project will be to search our collections for striking, inspirational and engaging images and work with curators to describe, digitise, publish and share them in a way which makes them easy to find and reuse. Your work will be supervised by our collection curators and archivists who will help you to describe and interpret what you find.

This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services Group as we celebrate the diversity of our collections. Your work will be the starting point for future projects and give us vital information to help us plan new ways of working. This is an exciting opportunity to work with some of the UK’s most interesting collections and your work will have immediate and visible impact.

Working Hours:
Working hours are 6 hours per week. Flexible conditions (working pattern to be negotiated with the successful applicant).


Main Responsibilities:
•You will work closely with our archivists and curators to identify where in our collections there may be images (particularly of women and women scientists) which can be found, shared and re-used.
•You will take high quality scans and photographs of the images, create descriptive metadata, store files in line with agreed workflows
and regularly add the images with their stories to a library-hosted blog.
•You will work with our other interns to ensure that the images you find are quickly used.
•You will work under supervision, but on your own initiative to use your investigative, research and search skills to discover images with
stories and visual impact.
•Throughout the term of the internship you will find and share a steady stream of content that can be easily re-used in presentations and displays around the university.
•You will gain new skill in researching collections, understanding metadata, intellectual property rights and copyright, as well as using digital scanners and digital images.
•You will work as part of a large team and independently, managing your own work projects and time, reporting on progress, publishing your findings and attendingmeetings and presentations.
•You will gain a unique insight into the library andcollections and equality and diversity issues in that context.
•You will challenge us with new ideas and summarise these in an end-of-project report.
Person Specification:
•A current PhD University of Edinburgh student (this post is designated for the purposes of student employment, therefore you must be a matriculated student for the duration of your employment).
•A background in a relevant subject area such as gender studies, art, sociology, information studies, literature, journalism, photography, science, engineering, education, humanities, library studies, archiving, curation, human resources, management or any other relevant discipline.
•You will have a keen eye for detail, be patient and accurate and understand the
importance, beauty and power of metadata.
•Experience of searching, researching and finding things.
•Initiative and judgment to resolve many day-to-day problems independently.
•An enquiring mind and an eye for detail.
•Strong written and oral presentation skills.
•Good IT skills for using social media, working with data and targeted communications.
•Ability to set, meet, manage and monitor progress against targets.
•An engaging interpersonal style and experience of successfully persuading and influencing colleagues.
•Ability to handle irreplaceable documents and objects with care.
•Understanding of relevant equality and diversity themes as they relate to equality in theworkplace and the importance of visible role models and positive representations.
•Experience of researching a topic in detail.
•An understanding of how cultural heritage collections can support learning and research at universities.
•This internship would suit someone with a background in equality or gender studies,change management or human resources or someone with a particular interest inpolicies and practicalities of gender issues in library, technology or STEM workplaces.
•Creativity and resourcefulness

people know people

Issue 26 p. 1 front cover Illustration of hanging a sheet on a washing line Usage terms: We have been unable to locate the copyright holder for Hanging a sheet on a washing line. Please contact copyright@bl.uk with any information you have regarding this item. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/spare-rib-magazine-issue-026#sthash.qZnKW0Db.dpuf
Issue 26 p. 1 front cover
Illustration of hanging a sheet on a washing line
Usage terms: We have been unable to locate the copyright holder for Hanging a sheet on a washing line. Please contact copyright@bl.uk with any information you have regarding this item. – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/spare-rib-magazine-issue-026#sthash.qZnKW0Db.dpuf

As part of the PlayFair Steps equality and diversity initiative in ISG we have been looking at our staff demographics and considering our recruitment practices.

There is many a cliche to be heard around how difficult it is to recruit women into tech jobs. Some of it is true, some of it is lack of imagination. As a large tech employer in this city we compete for the best talent against other tech employers in the city. The competition for new graduates, skilled software engineers, designers,  excellent IT managers and creative thinkers is hot*.

As an organisation we recognise that we need to improve the diversity in our teams to improve our insights and creativity, to draw upon a diverse set of ideas and experiences and to model for our own students the world in which they might want to work.

One of the things we’ve done is to start employing student interns. Dozens of ’em.  It’s been really invigorating. All the teams in LTW have benefitted and I am personally very much enjoying having the most up-to-date thinking and input from the interns in my office.  Dominique works with me on my gender equality plans and Polina works with me on digital marketing and recruitment. These two projects are linked. If we want to get more women into our organisation- particularly at senior levels- we need them to apply for our jobs in the first place.

I am not certain that as a tech employer we are very well served by our recruitment strategy currently. We have no specific graduate careers track in ISG, no ‘return to work after a career break’ initiatives and we tend only to advertise in ‘university places’ such as our own HR pages and jobs.ac.uk**.  I’ve never seen a twitter feed or anything similar pushing out our jobs (other than mine).

HR sites, and even jobs.ac.uk rely on the premise that a person wants to work in a university first and that they’ll be looking for a job and your ad will happen to be there at that moment.  I’m not sure that is the market we most need to be in.  I think we need to be digitally transforming our recruitment approach and reaching passive talent*** while they happen to be browsing.

I have asked Polina to investigate LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has company pages, where employers can gather followers and networks and get their news and jobs in front of people who already have jobs and are busy networking in their professional field.  Looking at Linkedin I note that as well as the University news pages, our business school is already using linkedin for their recruitment. Polina is a business school student so she knows her stuff.  My hope is that  we will figure out how best to use Linkedin in ISG to get our adverts to new eyes using  linked people, friends,  friends of friends, networks, news, alumni, students and interested tech followers to show them what a great place this is to work.

I’ll let you know how we get on. If you would like to follow our nascent company page, please do.




*this is what I learned when i recently chaired an Holyrood magazine event on Graduate Digital Skills.

**it turns out that 15% of working professionals are scanning their network at any given time, and  45% are totally open to considering a new opportunity when approached by a recruiter. I know this. It happens to me a  lot. In addition to the 25% who say they are actively looking for a new job, 85% of the global workforce are your oyster.

*** I’m also having trouble finding anyone who has any stats about how many views or shares our ads get. What I am finding is some anxiety amongst our HR professionals that I may be about to disrupt the status quo (again).








would you work with us?

Photo taken by me at Summerhall hacklab. No rights reserved by me.

We are recruiting a Digital Recruitment and Marketing intern. If you are an Edinburgh University student check out our advert on employ.ed.

Information Services Group at University of Edinburgh is one of the largest IT employers in Scotland. We are looking for a digital marketing intern to work with us to enhance our online presence, and specifically our ‘company profile’ on LinkedIn to ensure that we attract the best candidates and showcase our organisation as a great place to work. You will work closely with managers across our organisation to provide advice to us on how best to use online recruitment tools and strategies and to develop content and stories for our LinkedIn profile.


Use your digital marketing expertise and copy-writing skills to design and populate our LinkedIn company profile which will:

  1. Be effective in recruiting the best IT and Library staff for our organisation.
  2. Showcase ISG as a great place to work and a good project partner.
  3. Showcase the career paths and profiles on offer in our organisation.
  4. Promote our family friendly, inclusivity and flexible working policies.
  5. Report on metrics to monitor success.
  6. Be easy for our recruiting managers to continue to use after your internship has finished.

You will gain real life experience of working with a large employer to enhance our business through effective use of digital marketing and recruitment tools.


  • Excellent copy-writing and editorial skills.
  • A well designed and effective profile on LinkedIn.
  • Good social media nous and understanding of how the internet works for companies and organisations.
  • Evidence of being able to identify examples of good practice in digital recruitment and advertising.
  • An up to date knowledge of good practice in HR and marketing strategies.
  • A keen eye for detail.


  • Graphic design or journalism skills.
  • Experience of writing ‘how to’ guides or workplace training.

PlayFair Steps for equality action

By claireknights [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Playfair Steps, Edinburgh. By claireknights [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change.  We are recruiting an intern to help us. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.

Opportunity and strategic alignment

Following our gender equality survey, within the context of the University’s commitment to Athena Swan, and in line with a broader approach to change management in IS, we have an opportunity now to make some innovative moves to address equality and diversity issues for our staff.

Key messages

One of the key messages arising from our staff survey was that ‘equality involves everyone’. This indicates that our success will depend on ensuring that our plans target all groups and include a range of positive actions, in addition to those specifically designed for women.


Alongside the work we must do in HR and with directors and managers around policies and process, we will establish an innovative programme of staff workplace activities * and L&D opportunities focused on a general concept of ‘fair play’ called ‘The PlayFair Steps’**.

Next Steps

  • To begin making our planned equality action areas into a SMART plan for 3 years.
  • To recruit (using CIO innovation funds) a Phd intern to work with us for the first year to monitor progress against targets in these change areas.
  • To establish a staff group to lead, shape and bring new ideas.

Proposed Equality Actions Areas for next 3years


  • Deliver a communications plan to advertise, update and raise awareness of relevant university HR policies where they exist.
  • Deliver a communications plan of concerted positive comms around ADR, L&D, mentoring, professional networks for career development.
  • Dispel myths of inequality of access to opportunity by making visible stats which reflect the real uptake of staff development, training, conference attendance and rewards and recognition payments across ISG.
  • Offer staff development sessions on ‘how to get promoted’.
  • Review how ‘good citizen’ activities contribute to promotion criteria, reward and recognition.
  • Do follow up surveys (from the University) on race, faith and disability.


  • Ensure fair and transparent recruitment, promotion and policy-making processes.
  • Ensure everyone involved in recruitment (JD, panels etc) has been on diversity and bias training. Showcase and share examples of JDs with gender-neutral language and positive action.
  • More visible positive action to recruit to under-represented groups/areas including use of social media to advertise opportunities using appropriate hashtags and fora. e.g #womenintech.

Work –life balance

  • Enhancement of family-friendly policies and improved communication of these.
  • Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by not holding meetings outside core hours.
  • Encourage work/social activities which are family friendly.
  • Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by reducing management email sent outside core hours except re tier1 service incidents.
  • Designate a separate (bookable) quiet room with a nice view for prayer, meditation, escape from sensory overload, breastfeeding and expressing.

Supporting gender equality more broadly

  • Offer visible equality role models of both genders by ensuring that invited speakers, presentations, vendor presentations reflect a gender mix.
  • Offer visible equality role models of both genders by working with conference organisers to reduce the number of single sex panels at conferences or events.
  • Ensure that we have diversity in our decision-making groups.
  • Provide opportunities for career development and networking through visible support/involvement/hosting of organisation events e.g Ada Lovelace Day.
  • Offer visible equality role models by naming computer systems, servers, rooms etc after relevant famous women.
  • Display more art by diverse (and women) artists.
  • Ensure that systems which hold personal data offer a choice of gender neutral honorifics e.g Mx
  • Build systems and applications which pass the Bechdel test for software.
  • Promote to staff and students digital initiatives for gender equality in tech areas e.g coding and gaming.
  • Engage with research in emerging areas around gender and the internet to inform the development of services to support staff and students’ safety online


* Similar to our ‘healthy working lives’ initiatives.

** As well as including the word ‘fair’ and ‘play’, the Playfair Steps are a well-known set of steps in Edinburgh which take you easily from the old (town) to the new (town) . Additionally, the engineer William Playfair invented infographics- bar charts and pie charts -and much of our gender equality business is done using these.

phd internship placements

Picture taken by me in the street. No rights reserved by me.

If you are doing a Phd at University of Edinburgh and you need a job, please feel free to apply to these two splendid vacancies. Work based learning guaranteed. Applications by 31 August.

Digital Skills for Research Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)

The work of this internship will be to review research skills frameworks, map digital skills to the research life cycle, identify existing training resources locally and in other universities, identify good practice for researcher training programmes, highlight any differences in digital skills needs in specific discipline areas and make recommendations to Information Services senior management to shape their plans going forward.

Equality, Gender and Change PhD Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.