Adopt an Intern was born in late 2009 when Joy Lewis (now Adopt an Intern's CEO), supported and encouraged by her colleagues at the Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP), decided to take action following a spate of requests from talented graduates desperate to work with them for free.
The economy was in a pretty poor state, the creation of new jobs was exceptionally low and all the while more and more graduates were leaving university and joining those already looking for work, desperate to step into the great jobs they'd been told would fall at their newly-graduated feet. Graduates were faced with an up-hill battle, exacerbated by their lack of experience in the world of work. Too many were finding the only way to get a toe in the door was through unpaid internships and voluntary work.
Driven to put an end to this culture of unpaid internships, Joy began her dream of supporting unemployed and underemployed graduates into employment by approaching the CSPP's member organisations for their views on a graduate internship programme. The support was overwhelming.
Knowing that not only did graduates have a lot to offer, but that our economic future relied on the youth of today, Joy (unpaid herself at this stage) placed 6 graduates with 6 businesses. She started as Adopt an Intern continues today, making sure all internships are transparently advertised, that graduates are carefully shortlisted, supported and tracked afterwards.
Internships helped organisations to complete urgent and overdue projects that they did not have the time, skill or resource to complete.
In 2010, she approached Scottish Government who agreed to help with funding. Within the first year she had placed 85 graduates into paid internships. The Scottish Government have continued to support Adopt an Intern each year, allowing the expansion of more opportunities.
In 2012, Adopt an Intern spun out of the CSPP and became an independent not-for-profit company, with its own board and 3 staff members (including a paid intern).
At the tail end of 2013, Adopt an Intern placed its 500th intern, while the team grew to 5 permanent members of staff and an array of freelance HR specialists.
On 30 April 2015, Adopt an Intern celebrated placing its 1000th graduate into a paid internship and hosted its first ever Awards Ceremony, celebrating the achievement of interns and employers.
In November 2015 Adopt an Intern won the Royal Bank of Scotland Customer Focus Award at the Scottish Business Awards.
With successful internships from Edinburgh to Arran, Orkney to the Scottish Borders and even into Germany and Malawi this is only the beginning… Watch this space.