What are the work experience bursaries

The Work Experience Bursaries scheme supports University of Birmingham undergraduate students in all years of study including final year students. 

The bursaries provide financial assistance with the costs of undertaking work experience or internships during the students’ summer vacation.

The scheme also plays an important role in publicising and promoting the achievements of its award winners to demonstrate the value of work experience to other students

What the funding can/cannot be used for

The bursaries are available to assist with the funding of opportunities that do not form part of your course requirements. You may not request a bursary to fund opportunities such as electives, or opportunities that are part of an accredited module.

The bursaries are designed to act as a contribution towards the cost of your work experience. Depending on the performance of your overall application, you may receive all, part of, or none of the funds you have requested. Therefore as part of your application you must demonstrate and identify alternative funding options as a contingency should you not be awarded all of your requested funds; you should not fully rely on the bursary to fund your experience.

The bursaries can primarily cover costs associated with travel (including vaccinations and visas), accommodation and living.

For physical opportunities where students must pay to undertake the experience, the bursaries cannot be used to cover registration/administrative fees. However students may be able to apply for a bursary to cover part of the fee if it is used toward tangible aspects of the experience (such as covering accommodation and travel expenses). Applicants are required to obtain a breakdown of these costs from their employer and identify this within their application.   

Who the bursaries are designed to support

The aim of the scheme is to encourage students to undertake ambitious work experience placements without being inhibited by financial constraints.  Students looking for work experience in areas or sectors which are low paid or unpaid can apply for a bursary to assist them.

 The bursaries are, in particular, designed to support students who:

  • hold no prior work experience (this includes volunteering, part-time work, internships, work shadowing)
  • want to undertake work experience in a role/sector for which no previous work experience is held
  • hold former work experience but who want to explore a different role/sector to help with career decision-making

Please note:

  • The quality of your application and the information that you provide is used to determine your suitability for an award. It may be decided that you shall be awarded part of the amount requested instead of the full amount.
  • If you have been awarded a bursary previously, you can apply again, however, you must strongly demonstrate how this experience is different, and builds upon the previous opportunity for which you received an award.
  • Students can only apply for one bursary scheme, not both

Strands to the Work Experience Bursaries

There are two strands to the Work Experience Bursaries:

University of Birmingham Undergraduate Work Experience Bursary

This bursary may provide recipients with up to £500 assistance. It is intended for students who wish to undertake work experience in the UK, overseas or for research related experiences (for example a research project at a university or within any organisation that is undertaking research).

For bursary applications to overseas work experiences, students must provide a strong rationale as to why a similar position in the UK would not provide the same learning opportunities.

University of Birmingham Gateway Bursary

This bursary stream is available to students planning to undertake placements either abroad or in the UK.  Applicants wishing to apply for the Gateway Bursary can only do so if they meet at least one of the following priority groups:

  • Registered as a Birmingham Scholar (either via initial student enrolment or personal tutor referral); this criteria also incorporates the immediate below eligibility categories:
    • In receipt of a P2B (Pathways to Birmingham) or A2B (Access to Birmingham) offer
    • A care leaver or care experienced
  • Registered as disabled/in receipt of Disability Student Allowance
  • First generation of the family into Higher Education
  • From a lower income background e.g. in receipt of a grant or scholarship
  • Lone parent (you are a single parent of one or more children)
  • From an ethnic minority

The Gateway Bursary offers students the opportunity to apply for up to £1000. The amount you can apply for will depend on the individual circumstances of your proposed work experience. As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide evidence of your eligibility for a Gateway Bursary.

Support available

Within reason the Work Experience Bursary can contribute to any expenses incurred through work experience or an internship, including:

  • Accommodation costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Living costs and utilities bills
  • Insurance (if required in addition to the University of Birmingham travel insurance scheme)
  • Equipment or resources*

*Discretion will be applied when assessing applications for funding for equipment and resources.

Students can also apply for funding to cover costs associated with virtual work experiences, as long as these are going towards tangible aspects of the experience and not administrative/registration fees.

Enhanced Transcripts

From July 2016 The University of Birmingham has introduced an enhanced transcript system. In addition to academic achievement, the enhanced transcript will provide information about verifiable extracurricular activities such work experience bursaries. Verification of this activity will be made available to the University’s central records system and it will on the transcript. Please let us know if you do not want the activity to appear on your transcript.

Please note as part of the transcript recording process, you will be asked for confirmation from your host internship organisation that you have completed a placement there i.e. an email confirming you have completed an internship with them over a certain period of time.

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