Work Experience Bursaries Application Guidance

This section outlines some general guidance on what we are looking for in your Work Experience Bursary application.

The full bursary application process consists of 2 parts; an online application form (which includes questions about your work experience) and an online video interview (which assesses the impact of your work experience). The video interview will be hosted on a platform called Shortlist.Me and students will be provided with a hyperlink within the online application form and on the bursary webpage which will direct students to the interview.

This section outlines some general guidance on what we are looking for in your Work Experience Bursary application. To increase your chances of being considered for an award you need to ensure you have addressed the following to the best of your ability.

Referee

You must provide the name of and contact details for a referee with your application. Your referee should be someone who is involved, or has recently been involved, in your education, personal development or employment. Please note that your referee should not be a family member or personal friend.

What will your duties be during your internship/volunteering/work experience?

Even if you have not secured your work experience opportunity yet, you should use this section to explain to us what duties you expect to be undertaking in the type of opportunity that you are seeking.

Why have you chosen to undertake the work experience abroad (NB. Only answer this question if you’re undertaking work experience overseas)? (200-400 words)

Please note: this question is not scored, however your answer will be reviewed by the panel and taken into consideration when making final decisions.

You must provide a clear and strong explanation as to why a similar position could not be undertaken in the UK and why you have chosen the country you wish to work in over others.

During previous years we have received a large number of applications from students wishing to undertake work experience overseas. Some of these proposals appeared to be less about students’ personal development and more about gaining an opportunity to travel and experience different cultures. The Work Experience Bursaries will only fund activity in the UK or overseas that students can clearly demonstrate is directly related to their personal and career development. Additionally, the bursaries are only awarded to experiences that are undertaken in a location that is deemed safe to travel to by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Where students are requesting support with an overseas opportunity, they will be asked to explain why a similar programme in the UK would not provide the relevant learning opportunities. 

Has your work experience placement/internship been confirmed by the host organisation?

Whatever stage you are currently at you must upload evidence demonstrating the progress you have made.  This should include some correspondence from your proposed organisation (e.g. an acceptance letter, email correspondence demonstrating their willingness to explore some work experience, or an application form receipt/interview invitation). This should also include your progress with regards to securing arrangements for things such as: travel, accommodation, insurance, visas, vaccinations, and any other necessary considerations. If you are applying for a bursary to assist with overseas travel, please consider all the aspects involved.

You do not need to have your work experience or internship secured when you apply for a Work Experience Bursary. However, when reviewing, preference may be given to applicants who have secured or are in the last stages of agreeing their position.

Work Experience Budget 

The purpose of this section is to help you plan out a comprehensive budget for your work experience.  It is essential that you complete this section of the application form. Failure to provide a budget will result in a score of 0 when reviewing this part of the application. There are 2 parts of the budget section; the data fields located in the form and a completed budget planner document which needs to be uploaded to the application when submitting (please ensure you use the template attached to the application form to create your budget planner). The table will allow you to identify individual costs associated with the work experience (e.g. accommodation costs). The budget planner will allow you to provide evidence to support your budget figures (e.g. a screenshot from a website showing the accommodation cost). 

Online budget data fields

You should insert all the costs you will incur as a result of going on your work experience or internship opportunity in your application. This should include both the costs to be covered by the Work Experience Bursary for which you are applying, and those you plan to finance from elsewhere. 

If your work experience is yet to be confirmed, please provide estimates of what the costs may be. You can re-confirm these costs at a later stage once finalised. For example, if you know the approximate location and length of the work experience, provide an estimate of costs based on this and include a note that is based on estimates only. These estimations will still need to be supported by evidence from your research into what the costs are likely to be.

If you will be receiving a salary for your work experience opportunity and/or allowances, you can only apply for a Work Experience Bursary if these do not cover the total cost of your opportunity.  You must include the total salary and/or allowances you expect to receive.  You may then apply for a Work Experience Bursary to contribute towards any remaining costs – which the application form will automatically calculate for you.

We will not be able to fund expenses that you are/will incur regardless of undertaking your work experience placement. We will also not be able to fund travel expenses to your home town/country.

Budget planner

To support the costs you add in on your application form, you should provide supporting evidence by completing and submitting your budget planner (please ensure you add your name and student ID number to your budget planner). In addition to the evidence, you should also include any calculations within your budget planner to demonstrate how costs were identified. This is especially important when the evidence doesn’t directly match the figures entered,

When submitting your budget planner please make sure it is clear what information we should be referring to and which cost it is relevant to. In the past students have included entire documents or provided website addresses with no accompanying evidence from them.  The judging panel do not have the time to search through information or websites for the relevant section, therefore please include a screenshot of any webpages you are referring to

Where costs in your budget or supporting evidence are shown in a foreign currency, you must also provide a conversion demonstrating the costs in pounds sterling for each individual expense.

Screen shots and electronic versions of budgetary expenditure evidence are acceptable. Failure to supply comprehensive budget information and evidence will have a detrimental effect on your application.  

Supplementary budget question 

Please note: this question is not scored, however your answer will be reviewed by the panel and taken into consideration when making final decisions

How do you intend to make up the remaining amount required to fund your work experience? Please also tell us how you would fund the work experience if you were unsuccessful in receiving a bursary. Please include specific examples and a breakdown of how you will meet the costs of your work experience. Minimum 50 word answer.

E.g. Have you made any other applications for funding and what progress have you had with these? Do you have any personal savings or money from part-time work you intend to contribute? (Please identify if you intend to apply for more than one UoB bursary to fund your opportunity, for example the Student Development Scholarships)

For example tell us:

  • If you have or intend to obtain a part time job to save some money towards your work experience
  • If you have made applications to other sources of funding and where you are in the process
  • If you hope to receive contributions from friends and family, fundraising or any other activities 

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 cannot be used to cover the registration/administrative fees for opportunities which students must pay to undertake.

Please identify what contingency plans you would seek to implement if you do not obtain a bursary. This will demonstrate to the judging panel your commitment to undertaking the opportunity and how well you have researched all aspects of the project.

Further details and guidance on alternative funding can be found on our website.

If for any reason you do not have a contingency plan and are unable to undertake the work experience without a work experience bursary, we have embedded a question to ask ‘Would you be able to undertake the work experience bursary if you were unsuccessful in receiving a bursary from us?’. This question is being asked to find out why students would be unable to self-fund their internship and answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will not affect your chances of being progressed to the next stage of the application process.

As well as rating your application against the above questions, the judging panel will also make an assessment, using all the information contained, as to how realistic and feasible the proposed work experience opportunity appears to be. In previous years some students’ contingency plans have been very brief and not provided assessors with a clear understanding of their feasibility.

Virtual video interview

The second part of the bursary application is the online virtual video interview. This is undertaken via a platform called Shortlist.Me and you will be provided with a link within the application form and on the bursary webpage which will direct you to the video interview.

When accessing the link for your video interview, you will be required to register with an email address – please use your student email address – this will prompt an invitation email to be sent to you which will include the link required to access your interview. Your link will expire if you have not submitted your interview within 30 days of registering, however this can be extended for you by the team if you are still within the application closing window. Please email the Work Experience team at internships@contacts.bham.ac.uk with your details so that your registration can be extended.

The interview is a one-way video interview involving 3 questions. Each question will be asked on the screen and you are expected to record your answer within the time limit shown. You will have 60 seconds of thinking time after you read the question, and then 5 minutes to record your answer (please note: you do not need to fill the full 5 minutes with your answer). You will only be given one chance to answer each question and you cannot edit an answer once you have answered it.

However, as we recognise that remote environments can sometimes be unpredictable, should you encounter a disruption that will negatively impact on the question you are in process of answering or on the rest of your interview, by clicking ‘Abort Interview’, which is located in the left hand side corner next to your recording preview, you will exit the interview.

You will be able to pick up from that the start of that specific question at a later point by going back to your invitation email and once again clicking on ‘Start Interview’. It is important to stress that you need to abort the interview before you finish answering the question if you wish to have another go at the same question. You will not be able to re-take any previous questions you finished answering before you aborted the interview.

You can choose when you undertake the video interview (as long as it is before the deadline) and it can be done in the location of your choice (e.g. at home). You will require a quiet space and a computer with high speed internet, webcam, speaker and microphone.

Interview questions

Each question is in relation to your work experience. You have been provided with question 1 below to support you in preparing your answer. You will be made aware of the remaining 2 questions during the video interview. Although we cannot provide applicants with the final 2 questions, please find below some guidance which will help you prepare your interview answers. 

Question 1

How will the proposed work experience contribute to your personal development and 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.

Question 2

You are encouraged to consider elements of your work experience which will take you outside of your comfort zone and how these might test the skills and attributes you have highlighted as developing or enhancing in question 1. When answering the question, it is worth ensuring you provide some background information and your thinking behind why you have chosen these particular elements, therefore not only stating the ‘what’, but also the ‘how’. When drawing on examples in your answer to this question, you might want to think of previous times when you have demonstrated resourcefulness and a great deal of adaptability.

Question 3

You are encouraged to consider the impact of your work experience beyond the period of the experience itself and relate this to the career goals you have identified in question 1. It is recommended to explore tangible real-life examples of how you will continue with your development in the future and identify steps and actions you will put in place. When drawing on examples in your answer to this question, you might want to think of previous times when you have exercised self-reflection and demonstrated a commitment to developing your employability. 

Realistic and feasible

As well as rating your application against the above questions, the judging panel will also make an assessment, using all the information contained, as to how realistic and feasible the proposed work experience opportunity appears to be. In previous years some students’ contingency plans have been very brief and not provided assessors with a clear understanding of their feasibility.

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