An internship or placement is a great way to find out about an organisation and whether you'd like to work there (or not!) when you graduate. Many of the major graduate recruiters offer summer internships and placements to undergraduates. Increasingly, employers are using their penultimate year summer internships as part of their graduate recruitment programmes, i.e. they offer graduate jobs to students who successfully complete an internship or placement.
What is an internship?
Internships are short periods of professional experience. During an internship you'll be doing similar work to a normal employee of the organisation. They give you a taste of what graduate work is like and can help you make industry contacts.
Summer Internships are a useful way for you to develop and enhance your skills during the vacation periods. They normally can last between two – twelve weeks and are generally paid. Most internship opportunities advertised by large graduate recruiters are aimed at penultimate (pre-final) year students. However, many smaller businesses offer internship opportunities and do not stipulate a year of study.
Some companies will also offer Easter or Christmas opportunities (often called spring internships or insight days). These are often targeted at first and second year students, however, there will be a limited number of these opportunities available.
There are some unpaid opportunities but these should be very short and not last more than four weeks.
What is a placement?
A placement may form part of your course and it could be anything from a few weeks to a year. If you're on a course with an accredited placement requirement, your academic or placement adviser will provide you with information about the requirements for your placement and possibly advise you of opportunities posted directly by employers to your academic department.
Many Strathclyde courses don’t include an industrial placement year as part of the course. However, it is possible to interrupt your studies for one year, with support from your academic department, to complete a year long work placement.
Find an internship or placement
Research Interns at Strathclyde (closing date 27 March 2023)
Exploring Entrepreneurship Internships:
The University of Strathclyde Careers and Employability Service, in collaboration with our colleagues at Inspire, is delighted to offer the Exploring Entrepreneurship Internship Programme, connecting talented students and graduates with a diverse range of fast-growing, SMEs. This programme is open to all year groups and graduates up to 5 years post graduation. If you would like to kick-start your career and build valuable work experience fast, this is a great way to do it. All EE Internships are paid at least £10.90 per hour. Keep checking MyCareerHub for the latest opportunities.
Bright Green Business (formerly Environmental Placement Programme)
Careerwise Summer Internships (STEM placements - female only)
Change 100 - programme of paid summer internships, professional development and mentoring for talented students and graduates with disabilities or long-term health conditions
Source your own internship & placement
It's very important to be proactive in your job search. Do not wait for vacancies to be advertised - it might never happen. Many organisations do not need to advertise their work experience opportunities, as they receive hundreds of speculative applications from students.
Some employers offering internships and placements will hold a presentation for students either on campus or in the Glasgow area.
- make sure you know which employers will be holding presentations for students via MyCareer (login with DS username and password) and by checking the events calendar regularly (you can also access it via the University App)
- find out about the wide range of careers sessions and employer-led events on offer
If you're looking for an internship or placement with some of the major graduate recruiters, start early. Some closing dates are as early as October and November.
Make the most of work experience
As many work experience opportunities will be hybrid this year here is some advice from the Institute of Student Employers to help students get the most out of hybrid work experience.
The vast majority of students leave university with some work experience, so how do you create a competitive advantage?
Do this by learning from your experience and applying your newfound knowledge. Whether you're stacking shelves in a supermarket, working in a call centre or designing web pages for an SME, you're gaining skills that employers want.
Use the HEA Student Internship Planner to help you plan, prepare and make the most of your internship. Keep a record/diary of your duties:
- reflect on what you did at work at the end of each day/week
- what did you learn about the systems/procedures in place?
- what did you learn about the structure of the organisation and the different jobs/staff in your workplace?
- have you taken on more responsibility as the weeks progressed?
- did you identify areas that could be improved or developed?
- did you contribute ideas/write a report?
- would you want to go back and work for that organisation again? If so, why? If not, why not?
Update Your CV
With every new job make sure you update your CV with details of the employer/organisation, dates of work, duties, skills gained etc. The Careers Service can help with your CV and cover letters.
BBC offers work experience opportunities. Placements are unpaid and last anything from a few days to 4 weeks.
e4s search on Internships & Placements
Milkround.com has a section on internships
Gradcracker search via Placements/Internships
Graduate Recruitment Bureau has a section on internships and placements
Graduate-jobs.com has a section on internships
Inside Careers has a section on internships
Placement UK assists students in finding placements up to one year in duration.
Rate My Placement find out where students at UK universities have undertaken internships / placements and what the students thought about their placements
TargetJobs website site advertises internships, placements and work experience
Bright Network search for internships
Step into Industry 6-12 month placements for undergraduates looking for a sandwich ‘year-out’ and with work closely related to your area of academic study.
Year In Industry provides talented young people with paid, relevant work placements during their university course.