Gateway To Work Experience Bursary

** Please note that this Bursary is no longer available. Applications may re-open in June subject to additional funding. Watch this space.**

The Gateway to Work Experience Bursary is designed to enable certain undergraduate students on the Birmingham Scholar programme and under-represented groups at the University access to work experience which they may otherwise be unable to afford. 

Awards are available for work experience opportunities taking place at any point during this academic year.

Eligible students undertaking unpaid or lower paid work experience may receive up to £2,500 in one academic year depending on their individual circumstances, the proposed work experience, and their funding requirements. Funds are available until all bursary funding is allocated.  

**Please note that due to the high volume of applications we are receiving, we may not be able to review your application in time for your work experience abroad or in the UK. We also cannot fund duplicate expenses/items where funding has already been agreed with the University, e.g. Turing funds.  Applications for retrospective work experience are not accepted**. 

It is recommended to apply as early as possible.

Please ensure you have read all of the information below prior to starting your bursary application and that you have downloaded the Budget Document template required as part of the application form.

Award Description

The University is under a regulatory requirement to improve access and progression for under-represented students. These are set out in the University’s Access and Participation Plan 2020-21 to 2024-25 (PDF). The Gateway to Work Experience Bursary assists University students from under-represented backgrounds. Eligibility is determined annually by a University committee by reference to Graduate Outcomes Survey data.

Who can apply for the bursary?

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive learning and working environment, where all members of the University can flourish and reach their full potential, which includes improving access for students from underrepresented groups.

 The University has very carefully considered those groups of students that are particularly underrepresented, as defined by verifiable graduate outcome data, to enable those students to benefit from the funding available under the Gateway to Work Experience Bursary.  This is lawful positive action as prescribed in the Equality Act 2010. The eligibility for the Gateway to Work Bursary was formalised by way of a committee of University staff and is regularly reviewed.

Based on the University’s review in 2023, the Gateway to Work Experience Bursary is open to the following categories of home fee status students in the current academic year 2023-24:

Birmingham Scholars students(defined as):




The Gateway to Work Experience Bursary is also open to:

  • Students of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black African, Black Caribbean, Mixed White and Black African or Mixed White and Black Caribbean backgrounds. 

We encourage students who are uncertain if they are a Birmingham Scholar, to get in touch via for verification.

Please note that students on a confirmed leave of absence are not permitted to apply for funds to undertake work experience during the period of their absence, as detailed on the funding and taking a leave of absence University webpage.

What can the bursary be used for?

(Updated on 11 April 2024)

The Bursary is designed to support students in covering the costs associated with unpaid or low-paid work experience. Eligible students can apply for up to a maximum of £2500. The amount you apply for will depend on the individual circumstances of your proposed work experience. What can be funded is described below. If you have other requirements not listed, please do let us know in your application.  

What the bursary can cover: 


The Bursary can fund your rent during the work experience period, or budget hotels or other value for money (VFM) accommodation such as an Airbnb, youth hostel or bed and breakfast. There is a maximum value of £120 per night, including breakfast. This is dependent on location and time of year. Evidence of 3 accommodations must be provided as part of your VFM research or evidence of your rent payments. Funds for staying at home cannot be obtained.

Travel expenses

Flights and travel going to the work experience and back to your home or rented accommodation or work experience accommodation will be permitted, with accompanying evidence. Please note you may be advised to seek Turing funding first for international travel over 28 days. The cheapest and most efficient way of reaching your destination should be used. All domestic travel should be standard/economy class. Journeys made on rail, bus, ferry, river boat, underground, metro or tram services can be claimed. Funds for Taxi fares can only be budgeted where alternative methods of transport are impractical due to location, pregnancy, disability, illness or injury, luggage/bulky equipment or travelling on a short trip for a journey that is deemed very early e.g. 7am or late (which we consider to be unlikely from a Provider offering work experience)


Suit or smart attire can be purchased including shoes to a maximum value of £120. Evidence of what you seek to purchase is required. We recommend that you purchase your clothing when you have received written confirmation that your bursary application has been approved and successful.

Dependent care costs

Should you have caring responsibilities, we recognise that to undertake the work experience, additional costs may be involved. Evidence of a registered provider is required with associated costs.


Certain types of insurance may be needed for your experience. Please let us know your requirements and associated costs.

Visa and vaccinations

A visa may be required for international travel and vaccinations. Note that not all travel vaccinations are available free on the NHS, even if they're recommended for travel to a certain area.

If you have other requirements not listed, please do get in touch with us to make an inquiry.

What the Bursary will not cover:  

  • Salary   
  • Bills  
  • Retrospective work experience applications 
  • Equipment, which is expected for use at University, e.g. laptop 
  • Attending career related open days  
  • Attending conferences  
  • Attending courses  
  • 12 month placements and electives that are part of a degree programme and the work experiences are not undertaken in the summer vacation.  

We have compiled a Careers Network webpage to support you in understanding what types of work experience you could undertake. Please go to ‘searching for work experience opportunities’. You could also make a speculative application. Please note the Bursary cannot be used to support work experience or internships considered to be in conflict with the principles or policies of the University or the student’s charter. More information on these can be found at:

Any questions?


Application process

The Gateway To Work Experience Bursary is open all year round and will close once all funding has been allocated.

To apply for the Bursary students will be required to submit one application form which primarily asks for the following:

  • Your personal details (e.g. name, ID number, email address, etc)
  • Your work experience opportunity details (e.g. organisation name, location, etc)
  • Summary of your work experience opportunity (max 50 words)
  • An application question (max 400 words): How will the proposed work experience contribute towards your personal and professional development, as well as your future career aspirations?
  • A budget outlining how much funding you will require*
    • As part of this budget it is vital that applicants undertake some research into the costs included to support in justifying the amount being requested. 
    • Applicants will be required to submit a budget document with evidence of their research and cost calculations. You can download the Budget Document Template here.

*Please note that if you require £100 or less from the bursary, you will not need to answer the application question highlighted above in your form.

Application support

To support you with answering the application question to the best of your ability, and with completing a thorough Budget Document please find some guidance below.

Application question: How will the proposed work experience contribute towards your personal and professional development, as well as your future career aspirations?

You are encouraged to identify the types of skills you will develop and how the experience will help you achieve your career goals. If you do not have a specific career goal at present, how will your work experience help you to develop your skills and employability? How will this internship build on any previous work experience?

If you have undertaken work experience in the past, tell us how this opportunity will enable you to develop different and additional skills and experiences. If you have received a work experience bursary previously, please state how this opportunity is different and builds upon any previous skills & experience. Please include specific and detailed examples to reinforce your answers.

Budget Planner

We understand that you may apply to the bursary before committing to go ahead with the experience and that your budget figures are simply estimations of your anticipated costs. To ensure your budget is as accurate as possible, you are required to submit a Budget Document evidencing the research you have undertaken into these costs and how you have calculated the figures used in your budget.

Please use screenshots to show us where you have found these costs and be as thorough as possible to show us any calculations or reasoning that led you to your final figures. We will not be able to visit any webpages and recreate your research so please do not include any hyperlinks, we require screenshots only. To support you in putting this document together, please refer to our Budget Planner Example.

Further support and resources

Careers Network hosts a wide range of resources to support with answering application form questions, as well as other stages of the recruitment process. We would strongly encourage you to explore these resources prior to submitting your application and if you would like your answers reviewing you can either email us or book an application advice appointment with an adviser.  You can find all our recruitment resources on the Careers Network website.

Timeline and other key information

The Gateway To Work Experience Bursary is open all year round and will close once all funding has been allocated.

Once your application has been received, it will be reviewed by the Work Experience Team in Careers Network. We will aim to respond within 4 weeks after your application has been submitted. The quality of your application and the information that you provide is used to determine if you would receive an award.

If you are awarded a bursary you will be sent a form to complete to provide us with your bank details to enable us to process your payment. You will also be required to complete the following:

  • A form to be completed before your work experience which will allow you to capture your skills, knowledge and confidence levels prior to beginning your experience.
  • A Work Experience evaluation form which will support you in reflecting on your work experience and articulating skills and strengths to incorporate in future job applications.

By securing a bursary through The Gateway to Work Experience scheme you are eligible to gain recognition on The Birmingham Award. The Birmingham Award is the University’s employability award for undergraduate students. Gain recognition for participating in activities you are already doing! Register your interest on the Birmingham Award website.

If you are successful in receiving a bursary, this activity will be automatically featured on your Enhanced Transcript, please email if you would like to remove this from your transcript.

Health and safety for overseas work experience

If your internship is overseas, you must consult the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website ( and read the appropriate foreign travel advice and safety and security advice for your destination. In particular, you must consult the guidance in relation to health and safety, and the location of your proposed work experience, as well as take into consideration the below points:

Consider risk factors such as your health, safety and wellbeing, the eventuality of having to self-isolate whilst on your trip or upon your return and the possibility of becoming ill whilst you are abroad.

Research the support available pertaining to your health, safety and wellbeing from your host organisation.

Visit the UK Government website for foreign travel advice and security information. 

The University reserves the right not to fund any student it deems is travelling to an unsafe destination. In the event of safety and/or security concerns arising after the initial bursary offer has been made, the University reserves the right to revoke its offer of bursary funding which has not been spent or which can be recuperated via refunds or insurance claims.

If you have any queries or concerns, please email the team at

University of Birmingham Turing Scheme

Gateway To Work Experience Bursary applicants may also be eligible to apply for funding via University of Birmingham’s Turing Scheme, which provides funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world. It can also be used toward international internships you have sourced yourself (including experiences organised by a third-party organisation). If you have any queries regarding the Turing Scheme please contact  

Other sources of funding for work experience

There are also these funding options:

  • Student Development Scholarships - for all undergraduates and postgraduates undertaking worthwhile and original vacation projects (in the UK or abroad), which do not constitute an examinable part of their degree programme. This award is not available to students who are fully funded, for example through scholarships, Research Council awards or equivalent. Deadline 2 February 2024.
  • Turing Funds – For all undergraduates and postgraduates. Priority will be given to students from widening participation backgrounds. Placements must have a minimum duration of 4 weeks (a minimum of 28 days including travel). To enquire, please contact Turing Funds also offer extra support for students with special educational needs and disabilities.


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