Volunteer internships at the British Red cross
Your questions answered
From travel expense to accommodation, find out how we'll support you as an intern.
When do you recruit?
The British Red Cross recruits volunteer interns throughout the year. There are usually more opportunities available during the summer, but we provide internships during every month of the year.
There are also many other voluntary roles available for younger people throughout the year.
Nearly 4,000 young people volunteer with us each year. Of these, around 100 are interns.
What is the time commitment?
This varies by internship, but most internships last between eight to 12 weeks for three days per week. Some may ask for two days per week and some may ask for four days, although this is very rare.
We never advertise roles that ask for more than 12 weeks. There are no full-time internships.
Each role requires a number of days per week over a number of weeks. However, the time you give is negotiable to balance your needs and what can be achieved in the role.
Are all of your internships in London?
No. About 60 per cent of our internships are outside London each year.
We offer a good selection of internships across the UK as well as at our London offices and our head office in Moorgate, London.
Who can apply?
We welcome applications from people of all ages and backgrounds. The specific criteria of roles will vary, but in general the following minimum criteria is required:
- you should be 15 or older (although some roles require you to be over 18)
- you should have basic computer skills
- you should have an interest in the voluntary sector
- you should have good written and spoken business English.
I am from outside the European Economic Community. Can I volunteer?
British Red Cross volunteers, including interns, must be a resident in the UK for the duration of their roles.
If you are from outside the European Economic Community (EEC), you need a valid visa which allows for volunteering in the UK. This includes students on a degree programme or dependants of work-visa holders.
For certain countries you are allowed to volunteer in the UK without requiring a visa if you are allowed visa-free access with your country’s passport. Specific rules will vary according to your nationality.
It is your responsibility to check whether you are legally allowed to volunteer with us.
We are unable to support visas or help with arranging accommodation.
Do you accept speculative applications?
No. Please do not send us speculative applications as they will not be considered.
We offer internships in a wide range of departments across the organisation. Each role is advertised, and you will need to apply for a specific role.
Check the website regularly to see if new internships have been posted (search for the word 'intern' or 'internships' in the key words box).
How do I apply?
Please apply using the online application system (search for the word 'intern' or 'internships' in the key words box). CVs and covering letters mailed to us will not be considered.
On the online system you will be asked to enter your details and fill in a supporting statement. You will be given the option to upload a CV, covering letter, reference or any other supporting documents you feel are relevant.
Each application is considered on its own merits. We do not prioritise applications from relatives or friends of Red Cross staff or volunteers.
Can I apply for more than one internship?
Yes. There is no restriction on the number of internships you can apply for. The only requirement is that you must fill in a separate application and supporting statement for each.
Please note that changing your personal details on one application will change them on all your applications. This includes document uploads but not the supporting statement for specific roles.
What is involved in the assessment process?
We will invite shortlisted candidates to an interview. At the interview we will assess your competencies and skills as required for the role.
We will call the successful candidate and email unsuccessful candidates within two weeks of the closing date.
Will I get paid?
No. All of our internships are voluntary. However, we do cover reasonable travel and lunch expenses.
What training or skills development courses do you offer?
As an intern you will be asked to attend an induction workshop and can attend CV and job interview skills training. You will also have access to our staff and volunteer training courses, some of which are certified.
Will you provide me with a reference?
Yes, we give all interns a reference upon completion of their internship.
What about employment? Will I be offered a job?
No. You will have access to our vacancies list but will need to go through a separate selection process to obtain a paid role.
What are some of the areas I can volunteer in?
Internships have been held in many departments, including:
- humanitarian and first aid education
- international finance
- emergency response
- independent living services
- human resources
- youth engagement
- international family tracing.
What is unique about the British Red Cross internship scheme?
We offer a mix of flexibility and structure. Many charities offer highly structured schemes that run in cycles throughout the year or only during the summer, while others only offer positions on an inconsistent or ad hoc basis.
The British Red Cross advertises positions regularly throughout the year. We apply consistent quality controls to ensure all our interns enjoy a rewarding role with us.
All of our internship opportunities are based in the UK. If you are interested in volunteering abroad with the Red Cross please contact the relevant country’s national Red Cross society (e.g. Spanish Red Cross).
We also offer a small number of placements overseas through our International Youth Volunteering Programme for 18 to 30-year-olds.
Why are British Red Cross internships voluntary?
We are a voluntary organisation and over 80 per cent of the charity’s ‘workforce’ are volunteers. Internships are part of our mix of volunteering opportunities.
We recognise that internships are very often used by people to gain the experience employers (from all sectors) are looking for and we want to find ways of packaging our volunteering opportunities into attractive formats. Our internship programme has been developed to provide a growing number of interesting, challenging and rewarding opportunities across the UK in an increasingly diverse range of roles.
To ensure our interns have a good experience we’ve put control measures in place including:
- support from a placements co-ordinator
- limits on the numbers of hours, days and weeks that a person can be an intern
- open and fair recruitment
- careers focused workshops
- exit interviews
- individual evaluations.
These are in addition to the support available to all volunteers including line management support, travel and subsistence expenses and role specific training.