Internships and Placements

secondary navigation

skip to main content

All types of vacancies, employer directory

Common Best Practice Code for High Quality Internships

The Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum is an ad hoc advisory body. Its membership is voluntary and represents around 60 professional bodies and related organisations.

An internship or placement with an organisation 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 ie they offer graduate jobs to students who successfully complete an internship or placement.

Finding Vacancies

Internships and placements are advertised via MyCareerHub Strathclyde (login with DS username and password).

Presentations/Events

Some employers offering internships and placements will opt to 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)

If you are 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.

What is an internship?
  • Internships are short periods of professional experience. During an internship you will 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 2 – 12 weeks and are generally paid. Most Many internship opportunities advertised by large graduate recruiters are aimed at penultimate (pre-final) year students. However, many smaller businesses offer internship opportunities and will 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 in duration and not last more than 4 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 are 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 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. 
  • If your placement is less than a year or is not in summer then you may need to be a little more creative in your jobsearch see Making Speculative Applications.
Summer Internship Programmes

Please note this is not an exhaustive list.

Placement Programmes
  • 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.
  • Vulcanus in Japan is a programme which allows EU students to learn Japanese/work in Japan for an academic year during their course. This programme is open to students from Science and Engineering disciplines only. See the website for further details.
  • Year In Industry provides talented young people with paid, relevant work placements during their university course.

Please note this is not an exhaustive list.

Graduate Internships
Internship and Placement websites
  • BBC offers work experience opportunities. Placements are unpaid and last anything from a few days to 4 weeks.
  • Council of international programs USA - offers short term exchange programmes in areas such as social work and law
  • e4s search on Internships & Placements
  • ELSA (The European Law Students' Association UK) has a Student Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP) which enables members to spend a period of time working abroad in a law related area. Traineeships are between 2 weeks and 18 months long. For Law students, or anyone with a genuine interest in Law. 
  • Engineers Without Borders UK is an international development charity that aims to remove barriers to development through engineering. It is a student run organisation, with branches in over 30 universities across the UK as well as a national executive. Every year they send engineering students and graduates from the UK to work with development organisations across the world as well as in the UK, these can last between 3-12 months.
  • European Affairs Jobsite which has internships of varying lengths which may be suitable for Languages, IBML and Politics students.
  • 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.
  • Prospects search on work experience, also has a section on Work Experience and Internships 
  • 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


Please note this is not an exhaustive list.

Spring Internships and Insight Days for students of earlier years

These are schemes offered by larger recruiters and are targeted to earlier years undergraduates 

  • They are a good way to find out about an organisation and to meet recent graduate recruits.
  • They are not paid opportunities, but may involve work shadowing.

Making Speculative Applications
  • It's very important to be pro-active in your job search, especially if you have a preferred location - don't wait for vacancies to be advertised - it might never happen.
  • Many organisations simply do not need to advertise their summer vacancies as they receive hundreds of speculative applications from students. Get advice on making speculative applications to employers.
How do I improve my chances of being selected for an internship?

Skills - Make sure you understand the skills employers want so that you can match yourself to the skills stated in a job description/person specification

Volunteering - If you don’t have the skills employers want you can add to your skill-set by getting experience through volunteering

Get involved - Get experience of dealing with people and handling situations by getting involved while at university

Visit Prospects:  The importance of extra-curricular activities

How to make the most of work experience