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National Internship Program

National Internship Program

The National Internship Program, coordinated by the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Human Resources Office, is a nationwide program designed to assist youth employability and school-to-work transition. It involves all public institutions and voluntary employers with the aim of providing internship opportunities for university students with principles of equal opportunity and merit ensured by its platform. The Program helped and encouraged candidates to engage in activities for their development.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Facilitating young talents’ professional growth and career decisions is crucial. Onternships support their employability and their school-to-work transition. Since 2020, the National Internship Program (NIP), implemented by the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Human Resources Office, has been initiated to coordinate career opportunities from all institutions for university students across the country.

The program aims to transform the talent management processes in the public sector and bring about a paradigm shift with a technology-focused approach to ensure equal opportunities and merit-based assessment of talent acquisition processes in the public and private sectors. As of the year 2023, job shadowing, training, and mentorship opportunities have also been included in the Program to increase the diversity of experiences that candidates can gain.

Public institutions were hiring interns before NIP; however, there were several challenges. First, university students faced difficulties in accessing and applying for the opportunities because institutions shared their postings on different platforms, using varying application and recruitment standards and processes. Second, despite public institutions having field services, interns were only employed in their central organizations, resulting in inequality for students from smaller cities who couldn't access these opportunities.

The centrally coordinated NIP has overcome these challenges by bringing together various careers under one umbrella. The program, guided by its core values within a technology-focused framework, assesses efficiently, objectively, and with standardized processes through the Career Gate (CG) digital platform. With these dimensions, it stands out as an innovative internship program that distinguishes itself from other internship programs worldwide.

In the application process after the transfer of information from e-Government to CG, students submit documents related to their competencies. The documents are verified by university career centers and relevant authorized institutions. Students' competencies are assessed across the Professional, Social/Artistic, and Sports Competencies categories using an innovative and scientific methodology. This approach enables the evaluation of students' long-term performance rather than instantaneous performance. To promote fair recruitment and mitigate gender bias, identity details and gender information are deliberately concealed in the profiles that are in the pool. Employers can choose candidates by reviewing competency scores and filtering the pool based on criteria like major, grade, etc. By 2023, students started to upload their experiences about artificial intelligence (AI) related activities to be included in the pool, meaning that candidates who have awareness in this field can be prioritized by employers. In NIP, students receive offers from employers and make selections based on their preferences.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

NIP mobilizes internship opportunities in all public institutions in the country. It also aims to provide internships based on principles of merit and equal opportunity, so all processes, from application to placement, are conducted through online CG integrated with e-government. Thereby, the applications are standardized and made accessible through a single platform. Recruitment standards are made more transparent and traceable.

The evaluation method is also innovative: students’ Competency Scores are calculated and applicants are evaluated by their life-long performance instead of exams showing instant performance. Employers send their offers based on these scores without seeing the identity and gender of the students. Thus, gender biases are minimised and merit-based recruitment is ensured. NIP aims to reverse the deep-rooted perception that “students are chosen by employers” to “students choose the employer.”

What is the current status of your innovation?

NIP started in 2020 as a pilot project. In 2021, given its success, NIP has been included in the Presidential Program of Türkiye and has been disseminated to all public institutions, meaning that they have begun to recruit all their interns through NIP. The goal was to ensure that all internships provided by public institutions were based on merit and equality of opportunity.

NIP has also increased the number of internships substantially by expanding the intern capacity of public institutions. In 2022, the scope of NIP has been expanded so undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Turkish students studying abroad have been allowed to apply. In 2023, more than 407,000 students applied to NIP, which means that demand for the Program has increased compared to previous years. Almost 2 out of 3 students that have applied to the Program have received at least one internship offer and more than 179,000 students accepted the offers they got and started their program.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

All public institutions with their subsidiaries and field services all over the country are the partners of NIP, since they have the highest internship capacity of the Program.
All universities and authorized public institutes are the collaborators, since the accuracy of documents received in the second stage of the application is checked by them.
Employers from the private sector are collaborators as well, because they also provide their internship opportunities through NIP.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Turkish citizens or international students in Türkiye who continue their undergraduate and graduate education in Türkiye or Turkish students abroad can apply to NIP and get internship offers from employers.
Public institutions, universities, SMEs, and other employers access to an enormous talent pool thus they can attract and acquire young talents.
All the beneficiaries of the NIP are also users of the Program since all processes are carried out on CG.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

In 2020-2022, 441,000 students applied and 160,000 completed their internships in total. NIP, with its innovative approach, drew the attention of international organizations and it has been reported as an exemplary practice in the OECD's report on "Governance for Youth, Trust and Intergenerational Justice" (2020) as well as in the OECD policy note titled “What Did Countries Do to Support Youth in the COVID-19 Crisis?” (2021).

By November 2023, 407,000 students applied and 179,000 started their program. Every year higher numbers of students from different regions and fields can find internships. Internship procedures have been more objective, transparent, merit-based, and traceable. This trend is expected to continue to provide a more qualified workforce.

Challenges and Failures

Developing a digital platform for all public institutions to carry out their processes was a big challenge since their standards/procedures varied.

All institutions had conventional procedures or had no procedures at all. Therefore, mobilizing employers, standardizing their processes, and changing the behavior/habits of institutions were challenging.

Adaptation of personnel to NIP and CG in all public institutions required long hours of training. The Office prepared necessary training materials, and organized trainings and webinars. Since NIP is carried out on CG, users in public institutions need to have certain digital skills. As these employees’ digital skill levels vary, adapting low-skilled employees to use CG required extra effort.

Conditions for Success

Effective communication among all stakeholders, providing guidance, and monitoring ongoing developments was vital. It was critical to design the processes without overburdening the partners. In this regard, the Office worked closely with all parties to facilitate the whole process.

Moreover, providing a digital tool for all parties to enable them to carry out their operations easily was critical. Reaching reliable and verified information by using CG and collaborating with related public institutions was very critical.

NIP encourages all public institutions to get interns to the fullest capacity and obliges all internships in public to be paid. Therefore, allocating necessary financial resources was required.


NIP started as a pilot project but today its scale has reached a very relevant level. Its scope still could be expanded to a greater level in a way that it covers all internships in vocational and technical secondary education.
NIP can support SMEs, which form the backbone of the economy but have limited talent management practices, to join the Program and reduce their talent gap.
Moreover, similar programs adjusted to local conditions could be started in other countries by their institutions. In this regard, the Office initiates partnerships with other countries to share its know-how on how to develop and implement competency-based, transparent, traceable, and equal opportunity-providing national internship program.

Lessons Learned

In the pilot implementation of NIP, it has been observed that students’ identity, gender and university information increased biases and created disadvantages for certain groups/individuals, hindering merit-based intern recruitment. For that reason, later applicants were added to the pool without their identity, university, and gender information.
Allowing students to view their own scores and country average scores helped them identify their strong and weak sides, and encouraged them to carry out activities for their career development.
Providing continuous support was crucial to change the behavior of institutions.
The transparency of all processes, especially the assessment, contributed to the adoption of the Program by both students and employers.

Supporting Videos


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

1 July 2024

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