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The V&A’s Conservation Department offers unpaid work placements to students enrolled on recognised conservation training courses. The placements provide an opportunity for students to gain work-based experience working alongside the V&A’s conservators. Available conservation specialisms include paper, books, paintings, textiles, furniture, sculpture , metals, ceramics, glass and conservation science. Applicants must note:   

  • The work placement must be a requirement of the student’s studies.
  • The work placement is undertaken on a voluntary basis.
  • The duration of a work placement will normally be from three weeks to six months.

Work experience in the V&A Conservation Department   

  • Work placement students can expect to work on a variety of work-based assignments that may include interventive and preventive conservation, as well as administrative tasks and research projects.    
  • The work is selected by the student’s allocated supervisor from the studio’s existing work programme.   
  • Time off and holidays, if required, will be arranged locally with the student’s supervisor.   
  • Any written reports or presentations by the student relating to the placement, including those required by their educational institution, should be made available to the supervisor to review, before submission. Copyright will remain with the V&A.   
  • Occasional studio visits will be arranged so that students will have a chance to meet each other and discuss their work as a group. They will also have the opportunity to engage with other departmental activities where appropriate.

Applying for a conservation work placement

For guidance on work experience at the V&A visit our Voluntary & Work Experience Placements page.

Applications should be made online at: View current vacancies and apply online

Two references should be provided. These can be from a previous employer, a sponsor, or a tutor from the student’s current educational establishment. References can be emailed separately to conweb@vam.ac.uk.

For applications to be processed successfully:   

  • all applications must indicate one choice of conservation specialism.   
  • applications must be received at least six months before the intended start date as some studios may be booked up to two years in advance.
We regret we do not have the resources to consider or respond to applicants who:   

  • are not currently on a recognised conservation training course,   
  • seek specialist training in an area that would require close supervision and specific objects to be selected,   
  • wish to undertake detailed research requiring access to specialist staff expertise and equipment,   
  • have not completed the application form fully or not indicated their one choice of specialism clearly,   
  • have not shown their educational background and previous work experience clearly,   
  • do not have the required visa or funding arrangements in place.

Deadlines for applications

Autumn/winter placements (starting between October and March): apply by May 31st
Spring/summer placements (starting between April and September): apply by November 30th

For information about other opportunities including volunteering and jobs at the V&A please visit our jobs page.

Other information

For general information on careers in the conservation profession, visit the Institute of Conservation website.

All data is held in accordance with the V&A’s Privacy Policy and the V&A operates a policy of equal opportunities.

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.