Volunteer work and internships

We welcome help from volunteers and interns with our work.

Applications for the Volunteer Internship Programme have now closed. However, we will be advertising for volunteer internship opportunities in 2013. Please check back regularly.

Application guidance

About our volunteer internship/work experience scheme

February 2013

The BFI, which has been in existence since 1933, is a registered charity and under current guidelines is able to offer internship/work experience opportunities on a voluntary basis.

At any one time the BFI has up to 15 part-time and full-time fully flexible opportunities for up to three months through its volunteer internship scheme. These placements offer managed work experience across a wide range of departments, including archive, library, charitable fundraising and audience development.

The BFI has marketed the opportunities to local colleges and Job Centres and particularly in socially disadvantaged areas because it wants to offer work experience to people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultural perspectives. It externally advertises all its opportunities and all placements are made on merit through open competition. Although these openings are advertised as voluntary opportunities, the BFI does pay for travel costs and lunch.

The BFI has a track record in providing opportunities for young people to gain work experience, indeed a number of interns in the last year have gone on to find paid employment at the BFI through open competition, while others have benefitted from their period of work and experience with the BFI to find employment elsewhere.

Notwithstanding all of this, the BFI takes the discussion around its internship scheme very seriously. To this end, we have recently met with lobby group Intern Aware who have advised us of their position which is that if we are unable to pay, we should then abandon the scheme.

The BFI is currently considering the issues and options, as it wishes if possible to balance the proven opportunities the scheme has offered to help young people into work with its commitment to equal opportunities. It also recognises that at a time of further cuts to its grant this year and next, it must prioritise the protection of existing jobs to deliver on its role for the public. To introduce payment for interns on this valuable work experience scheme would, at best, dramatically reduce the opportunities that can be afforded, and possibly prevent the continuation of the scheme altogether. This would be a great pity at a time when more young people than ever are seeking entry to the British film industry which, in turn, benefits from such grassroots talent.

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