Frequently asked questions

To help you get started, below are our most common queries and questions that students tend to ask us about work experience and placements, so have a look at the links and resources shared below.

Work experience frequently asked questions

When do I start to look for internships or work experience placements?

Summer internships take place during the summer vacation in a professional role within industry. They are usually 8-12 weeks duration. Formal internship programmes are targeted predominantly (though not exclusively) at penultimate year students and are also used to recruit to graduate training programmes. Internship deadlines can also be as early as October, but can be advertised all year round. They usually start in July. It is best to apply early in case places get filled before the deadline.

Have a look at our Searching for work experience opportunities page for some starting points.

Where can I find work experience as a first year undergrad?

The Birmingham Project is an intensive and exciting one-week challenge for first year undergraduate students that takes place on the Birmingham campus. This employer-endorsed programme offers you the unique opportunity to work in small groups with students, develop strong team working and enterprising skills, and give yourself distinctive and quality experiences to talk about in job or further study applications. The Birmingham Project 2023/24 will take place from Monday 10 June - Friday 14 June 2024.

Where can I gain work experience as a Masters student?

The Masters Consultancy Challenge (MCC) gives Postgraduate Taught students the opportunity to work for an employer. You will work in interdisciplinary groups to solve a real-world business problem the employer is facing. The two week programme takes place in June, and also offers training on relevant skills such as teamwork, commercial awareness and pitching.

How do I get some volunteering experience?

Anyone can get involved in volunteering projects at the Guild of Students on campus and you don't need to have had any previous experience. As well as helping you to try new things and meet new people, it's also a worthwhile way of having something that looks good on your CV. As well as 24 student led volunteering groups, there are also dedicated volunteering events and opportunities for you to get involved in.

For more information, visit the Prospects website on volunteering. You can also have a look at these websites:

You can also approach specific organisations direct, taking a speculative approach. For more information on speculative applications and preparation visit our page on Speculative application preparation.

Is virtual work experience relevant?

Remote work experience is highly valued by employers. Not only does it provide a valuable insight into the world of work, it can develop your soft skills such as communication, team work and problem solving. Not traveling to a set work place saves time and money, encouraging additional flexibility in when, where and how you work.

Take a look at Forage's Virtual Experience Programmes.

Where do I find sector specific STEM work experience (e.g. clinical, labs, engineering)

Gradcracker is the UK's careers website for STEM students. It is where leading employers attract candidates for their degree apprenticeship, placement and graduate roles.

How do I find work experience if it is not advertised?

The majority of students find their work experience roles by making speculative applications. This involves researching the organisation you would like to work for, thinking about the type of work experience you would like to be involved in, and the skills and knowledge you can offer the company.

I don't have any work experience. Where do I start?

Prospects is a great careers website giving ideas of the types of job roles you could do with your degree. You can also answer questions about what you find interesting, rewarding and purposeful and be matched with job profiles you might find interesting.

I have general ideas about what I would like to do career wise. But I'm not 100% sure on how to get there. How do I get the relevant experience?

Check out thousands of internship, work experience and graduate roles for students on our Careers Connect system. You can also book 1:1 appointments with an Internship Officer for further guidance and support.

I want to gain an internship and am an international student. Can you help?

The University of Birmingham works with local, national and international organisations from a wide range of sectors to create meaningful internship opportunities for students and graduates. The B-Experienced internship programme provides students with the opportunity to work part-time around their studies, gaining valuable work experience and developing professional working skills.

I want to gain work experience but have other commitments around my studies as I am a carer. What can I do?

The Work Experience Team at the University have developed a work experience programme which offers the opportunity to work flexibiliy around your studies / commitments. The B-Experienced internship programme provides students with the opportunity to work part-time around their studies, gaining valuable work experience and developing professional working skills.


Placements frequently asked questions

How can I find out about placements? I need to start looking, ready to apply

An undergraduate Placement Year is an opportunity to work for an external company for a year. The role is similar to a graduate-level position and is great experience to prepare you for your future. Prospects has some helpful information on placements, and top places to find opportunities are Careers Connect, Ratemyplacement, Targetjobs, Studentjob.

If a work placement is an integrated part of your degree and you want to discuss this with an adviser, you can contact your College's Placements Officer (on the 'Meet your careers team' page for your College, scroll down to 'Contact careers team via email'). Otherwise, you can book a 'Work Experience and Internship Advice' appointment on Careers Connect to speak with an Internship Officer.

How should I prepare to increase my chances of getting a placement?

Get as much experience as possible in your first year and the year in which you are preparing for the placement year. Remember that there are so many things that develop your skills, from being part of a student society to volunteering part-time.  Being able to express how your range of experiences have given you skills that can be transfered to different roles is key for your success in the recruitment process for placements.

WorkLink: part-time, casual work opportunities on campus

The University’s casual recruitment agency is dedicated to helping you find flexible, part-time work that can boost your employability, confidence and skills. WorkLink’s expert team are here to help you reach your potential with tailored support and guidance that complements the advice available from Careers Network. Browse current opportunities and set up job alerts to give yourself the chance to gain more work experience. Outside of University, demonstrate your capabilities by securing part time work off campus; volunteering or revealing your reponsibilities at home or in your community.  Go to the Searching for work experience page for specific links.




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