The International Labour Office (ILO) was founded in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles. In 1946, the ILO became the first specialized agency of the United Nations, specifically dealing with global labour issues and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. Currently, over 1,900 officials from 100 nationalities are serving for the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 45 field offices around the world. To date, ILO has 183 Member States.
The ILO’s aims and main areas of activities are promoting decent work and labour peace. Full and productive employment and decent work are essential for economic growth, poverty eradication, social cohesion, and sustainable development in the world today. The ILO’s Decent Work Agenda has received strong support at the highest political and international levels.
Over the years, the ILO has been 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 employment opportunities, enhance social protection, and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues.
One of major ILO activities is its function as a global body responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. Working with its Member States, the ILO seeks to ensure that labour standards are respected in practice as well as principle.
In conclusion, the ILO is the only “tripartite” United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers, and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes. This unique arrangement gives the ILO an edge in incorporating “real world” knowledge about employment and work.
The main objective of the ILO Internship Programme is to provide a first experience as well as a learning opportunity for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students who are pursuing a course of work in fields related to ILO’s mandate and activities in order for them to gain practical work experience and increase their understanding of the world of work issues at the international level. Internship agreements are normally for three to six months depending on the needs of hiring departments/field offices.
ILO headquarters are in Geneva, and ILO field offices are in over 45 different locations around the world.
Advice for Prospective Hires
The internship application process is decentralised to the departments or units. This means that the applications should directly be addressed to them. A detailed list of ILO departments or units can be found at: http://www.ilo.org/global/Departments___Offices/lang--en/index.htm.
Prospective interns are advised to fill in the on-line profile for applying to ILO vacancies. In so doing, all necessary information will be directly brought to the attention of concerned departments and units. Your profile will also be useful for any future job applications in the ILO. The registration can be done at the following link: https://erecruit.ilo.org/public/index.asp.
A covering letter to your application as an intern is not compulsory. However, it can substantially improve your opportunity of being granted an internship. It is advisable that your letter demonstrates how your education and/or work experience can contribute to the work of the department and unit you are interested in. In this light, it is essential that you make yourself familiar with their work.
The ILO Internship Programme is managed by the HR Department. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/pers/vacancy/intern.htm.