Finding work experience

Work experience covers a range of activities from full-time work as a member of staff, to work shadowing and observing.


Search for a UoB bespoke internship

Take a look at these bespoke work experience schemes only for UoB students: Brum & Beyond internships.

Guide to finding work experience

All forms of work experience can be very beneficial in terms of career development and networking. Read below to find out more and how Careers Network and the University can help you find work experience. 

What do you want to gain from your work experience?

Reasons for looking for work experience vary. You may want to explore whether a particular career area or employment sector is for you, or wish to gain experience, contacts and knowledge in your chosen field.

Before you start looking for work experience take some time to think about:

  • Occupations and industries you are interested in and the work experience you will need to develop a career in that area
  • Your existing skills and experiences and how you would like to develop further
  • When you want to get experience and how much time you can commit

What work experience opportunities are there at University?

  • Summer internships take place during the summer vacation in a professional role within industry. Formal internship programmes are targeted predominantly at penultimate year students and are also used to recruit to graduate training programmes. However, most internships are open to all students. 
  • Work experience is used by many students to gain experience in most sectors, and competitive fields such as journalism, politics, the arts, heritage, charities and many others. You normally contact the organisations of your choice direct, but you can choose how much time you want to spend there. Also view available opportunities on Careers Connect.
  • Part time work during the term offers a great way to earn extra money while developing valuable transferable skills such as communication, team building and organisational skills.
  • Voluntary work offers a great opportunity to get experience in a diverse range of settings and occupations and can vary greatly in terms of the time you commit.
  • Insight programmes are offered by an increasing number of companies to give first-year undergraduate students an insight into how they work "behind the scenes".
  • Work shadowing involves spending a few days to a few weeks observing someone in their role at work and learning more about an occupation.
  • Year-long placements are normally taken between the second and final year of study as part of your degree or a year’s absence. Year placements are a great opportunity to get an in-depth understanding of a role and are used by many employers to recruit to graduate training programmes.

Even after you graduate, you can still look for work experience; graduate internships are an excellent means of obtaining further work experience once you have completed your degree. Similar to undergraduate internships, they often have a project focus and are supervised, full-time for a period of one month up to six, or in some cases even 12 months. 

How to find work experience

There are two main ways to gain work experience:

The route you adopt will depend on the type of work experience you are looking for. Some industries such as engineering, IT, finance and business management are more likely to advertise paid vacancies.

Positions in other fields including media, marketing, journalism, culture, sports and psychology are less likely to actively advertise. If you are looking for work experience in these areas you will need to spend more time finding out about organisations in the field and making speculative approaches to them.

More formal types of work experience like year placements and summer internships are also more likely to be advertised than short term and part time positions in professional settings.

How can the University help?

There are a number of services at the University which can help you find work experience.

Careers Network

  • Advertises year placements, summer internships, part time work in career settings, volunteering and other work experience vacancies for undergraduates and postgraduates online. Just select "Placement", "Summer Internship", "Work experience", "Graduate internship", "UKTI opportunity" (an opportunity overseas with a UK company, sourced by UK Trade & Industry) or "Volunteering", when you search for vacancies on Careers Connect.
  • Produces handouts on how to find work in different sectors including theatre, arts, environment and geography, engineering, health and sports.
  • Offers guidance on CVs, application forms and interview skills, as well as advice sessions with Careers Advisers, and drop-in sessions with a College Internship Officer.
  • Provides work experience bursaries for students seeking work experience in low paid or unpaid sectors.
  • Organises careers fairs providing the opportunity to meet with employers offering work experience.

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