If you are thinking of entering the world of the UN within a specialized agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO) will offer you its unique tripartite structure and projects around the decent work agenda, where working with governments, employers and workers is the exciting challenge of every days work.
The ILO is devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues. If you are interested in joining the ILO as an intern you will help to make its vision of universal human conditions of labour a reality.
At the ILO you will face dynamic, results-based practices. Our culture promotes high-performance and encourages knowledge-sharing and enhanced talent management. As the acknowledged leader in labour issues, ILO is committed to building future leaders in the world of work. ILO’s Internship Programme provides a wide range of opportunities for high calibre graduate and postgraduate students or recently graduated candidates who now look for a first learning experience in fields related to the ILO’s mandate and activities.
What will I learn and take away from this experience?
The aim of our internship programme is to give you exposure to the daily work of the ILO. You will be given the opportunity to support and learn from our people and be part of a team. You will be accompanying outstanding and inspiring career professionals and senior management within the Organization. Moreover, you will be exposed to high-profile conferences, participate in meetings, and contribute to analytical work as well as support to work on our fundamental principles, exciting programmes and groundbreaking strategies. Initially you will take on the amount of responsibility you can shoulder; the potential for growth, however, is yours to develop.
As an intern at the ILO, you are seen as a valuable source of talent that can contribute through the most recent academic thinking and research experience to our daily work and challenges.
Can I apply for an internship?
Every year a limited number of places for internships are available. To check if you are eligible to join the programme, you should ask yourself the following questions:
• What particularly interests you about the ILO?
• Are you currently enrolled in the last year of a graduate degree (Master or equivalent) or in a higher degree programme relevant to the ILO’s work or have you completed such a programme in the year preceding the application?
• Do you have a working knowledge (both oral and written) of at least one of the ILO’s official languages (English, French or Spanish)?
Furthermore, you should be able to adapt and be interested in an international, multicultural, multilingual environment and have excellent communication skills. As an intern you need to be able to work independently as well as part of a team and show initiative and be flexible. Any past work experience and knowledge of IT-related work would be an advantage. Please also note, that close relatives of a serving ILO official are not eligible. The same applies to candidates who have already been working at the ILO or who have already participated in the Internship programme previously.
How long is the Internship?
The length of an internship is between three and up to a maximum of six months. Internships start on the 1st or 15th of each month (or the day after if it happens to be a non-working day)
Is the internship paid?
In case an intern is not supported by an institution (university, government or other institution), a stipend to cover basic subsistence costs will be paid by the ILO.
What do previous interns say about the Programme?
For testimonials of previous ILO interns, please check the following link:
Working at the ILO has given me a glimpse into the work of a specialized UN agency whose work is well regarded world-over. Working in a multi-ethnic environment and in an organization that respects and appreciates its employees has left an indelible appreciation in my mind for the ILO.
Shagun Kare (Employment Sector – ED/ EMP )
The aim of the organization is in line with my interests and my beliefs and I like how the organization is based on three constituents. What I found of particular interest in my programme was the clear connection and collaboration between headquarters and the field. I have learned how an organization, consisting of many constituents, can work towards decent work in different kinds of projects and programmes. What I also appreciated was the dedicated staff members and their interesting profiles and I will also remember all the interns from all over the world that I got to know in the office.
Karin Rehnberg, (International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour IPEC)
One of the special things that I have come across during the course of my internship here at the ILO has been the diversity, openness, and professionalism that is demonstrated by the ILO staff around the house. I appreciate working with a supervisor who has a diverse background and is highly attentive to the work we are doing together as a team. This spirit of teamwork and professionalism, which I believe applies to the rest of the house as well, is a great source of encouragement for me in doing my work, and is likely to stick with me to guide my future professional career.
Abdul Saboor Atrafi (Sector)
The attentiveness of ILO staff to ensure the well being of interns, combined with the ILO Intern Network’s active role in organizing enrichment activities, facilitates a refreshing array of professional and extracurricular growth opportunities for those interested in learning first-hand about the work of the ILO!
Brian Clayton, Co-President of the ILO Intern Board (Microinsurance Innovation Facility – Social Finance Programme – SFP )
I am a student from France in my last year of my Master’s program in HR Global Management. I am currently in the ILO for my requisite internship before graduating. ILO is turning out to be the best organization for me because I am learning so much from everyone here. This intercultural, international environment is really rewarding and this makes the internship experience really special. I have only been here for a few days and will stay for 6 months. I am really excited for this opportunity. I really want to do my best because this is the first time I am seeing how HR, trade union, social security, decent work and other fields go from theory to reality. At the ILO, you have the chance to see how labour standards are applied in each country. The ILO strategic objectives seek to create a more ethical and fair world for the future. Being here allows you to become more responsible and aware of what is happening in the world in such issues as child labour.Come and join us to be part of this movement for better global working conditions for everyone!
Keep in mind…
The cost of travel, insurance and accommodation, as well as living expenses, are the responsibility of you as an intern or your sponsoring institution: You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements and for obtaining the necessary passport and visa or other documents for entering Switzerland or any other duty station. You are also responsible for arranging your own accommodation as well as for procuring and maintaining your own insurance coverage for illness and accidents while you are pursuing your internship at the ILO.
How do I apply?
You are advised to consult the ILO’s website to familiarize yourself with the work of the various sectors and departments and identify the areas that interest you most.
You can submit your application together with a covering letter to our roster (https://erecruit.ilo.org/public/). Profiles for internship positions are posted in January and June of each year
Your application through the roster increases the visibility of your profile by the different departments.
Please note that only three applications per recruitment advertisement period are accepted.
When would I get an answer? :
If a department opens an internship position, it will consult the roster. In case your profile matches, you will be contacted directly by the department prior to the launching of the following roster. Please note that due to the large number of applicants, departments are not necessarily in a position to reply to each request and only short-listed applicants will be contacted for telephone interview
Where can I find more information on specific departments and activities ?
A list of all departments and field offices can be found at:
How can apply to regional offices?
There are few positions available. Please directly contact the relevant regional office :
Africa: Mr. Nicolas Lopez-Armand: email@example.com
Latin America and the Caribbean: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia and the Pacific : Regional HR Unit : email@example.com
Arab States: Mr. Anser Qureshi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Europe: applications to be sent via the roster
ILO-Washington : Jobs and Internships at Washington ILO
New York: email@example.com