Searching for work experience opportunities

There are many ways to build your work experience and develop the professional and transferable skills that employers seek. On this page you will find a range of examples with weblinks.

What work experience opportunities are at the University?

Worklink is the University of Birmingham’s casual recruitment agency. Find flexible, part-time work right here on campus. A part-time job is a brilliant form of work experience, which graduate employers value and want to hear about in your job applications and interviews.  

On-campus programmes, competitions and bootcamps offer you the opportunity to problem-solve with employers. Work on a challenge and offer real-life solutions. Examples include The Birmingham Project (First year UG students only), Impact Challenge (penultimate and final year undergraduate students from a widening participation background) and Masters Consultancy Challenge (PGT students only). View our Events page for a full list.  

Get involved leading, running or being part of a Student Group. What do you care about? What would be fun? There are over 300 groups to choose from. You could even form your own student society. Gain work experience by managing and organising activity to benefit your members and wider communities. Build skills such as Project management; consultancy and team work - Visit Student Groups - Guild of students.

Enactus UK is an organisation that encourages students to engage in social action and environmentally responsible enterprise. Become a leader by running your own social project or assist a student project. Help transform communities and society. Every year you could enter a regional competition, judged by recruiters. Register via the Enactus website and get linked to the UoB Enactus student team.

A University of Birmingham Graduate Internship Programme offers paid internship opportunities across a wide range of internal departments during the summer every year for 13 weeks. Applicants must be a Birmingham Scholar and in their final year or is a recent graduate.

Where can I find virtual work experience opportunities?

Bright Network's Internship Experience UK is a four-day virtual internship programme which takes place every summer. You don’t need any previous experience. This is a chance for you to learn about different sectors and gain clarity over what roles suit you.  

Forage's Virtual Experience Programmes, delivered in association with the University of Birmingham, are all free to students. These job simulations contain real industry tasks, to develop transferable skills for workplace readiness, and can highlight your motivation, drive and commitment to employers.  

Springpod is a careers platform offering on-demand work experience courses which provide some insight into specific sectors and companies, undertaken in your own time. Note there may be age constraints as some courses are for School/College leavers. But the ages mentioned on the programmes are more of a guideline than a strict limit. Springpod welcome older students to apply as well!

Where can I find insight weeks or days?

Insight programmes spanning a day, a few days or a week, are available in the Spring, aimed predominantly at undergraduate first year students. Opportunities are advertised from early Autumn. Gain insights from companies, learn about their roles and work. Get a "behind the scenes" picture. Activities are usually run, offering a work experience taster.

Find out which companies offer Spring insight programmes through sources such as Rate my Placement. Queen Mary University of London has a useful webpage breaking down the different programmes available in Spring 2024, by sector: Finance, IT,  Law and Other. Visit Internships and Insight Weeks.  

Where can I find Summer internship opportunities?

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. 

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Where can I find 12-month placement opportunities?

Year-long placements are normally taken between the second and final year of study as part of your degree or a year’s absence. They 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. Closing dates for opportunities can be as early as October - the year before. Students are advised to start looking from the summer (July/August/Sept) for placements (12 months before the placements start).

If you are a first year student, you could start finding out about placement opportunities now, to learn what the employers are seeking. Then you can use your time building the knowledge, skills and attributes required. 

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Where can I find volunteering opportunities?

Volunteering is a great way to make a difference. As a volunteer, you have lots of flexibility, enabling you to work-shadow, observe and contribute to worthy causes. Charities and not-for profit organisations are usually looking for volunteers all year round, enabling you to develop transferable skills and leadership capabilities. 

These sources are from For more information, visit the Prospects website on volunteering

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 

Log in to the University's Careers Connect to view more volunteering opportunities. 

Where can I find opportunities for volunteering abroad?

Volunteering abroad provides a very different experience, travelling to another country which you may not have visited before. What you decide to do, could be related to education, equality, the environment, conservation and more – aligned to the UN’s sustainable goals. Become more culturally and globally aware, developing competencies in perhaps other languages. 

The Go Global team at the University promote overseas opportunities, whether they are study abroad related or volunteering. For information go to the Go Global main webpage. For a list of global opportunities, please visit the new Canvas resource Go Global Summer. Funding may also be available. More details are provided on the Funding Eligibility page of the Canvas resource. There’s also the Go Global Summer Fair running on 17 January 2024 (in the Debating Hall in the Guild of Students building on campus).

Careers Connect also advertises volunteering aboard opportunities. You will need to log in.

The University of Birmingham is also a member of the Universitas21 (U21), which gives all our students access to the U21 Programmes, including the virtual Global Citizens Leadership Development Programme and the Sustainable Micro-Internships.

There are a number of organisations that offer overseas volunteering opportunities. As the quality varies (and the fees) your attention is required to research and delve into the detail. The Government website offers advice on Gap years, volunteering overseas and adventure travelling - GOV.UK. The site recommends you seek foreign travel advice.

For further information such as funding, fee based internship providers and due diligence questions to support your research, go to the International work experience webpage.

Where can I find part-time opportunities to fit around my studies?

Part time work not only provides you with a wage, but can be taken to fit around your studies and other commitments. It provides the practical skills such as time-management; customer service skills/relationship building; IT; enthusiasm and reliability. Part time work is often found in the hospitality; health; retail and transport/warehousing sectors, and can be seasonal, offering casual work.

The University recommends that students work for no more than 15 hours per week to ensure a healthy balance between studies, other commitments and earning money to support yourself.

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Important information for international students - working on a student visa

International students who are on a visa must ensure their visa regulations permits them to undertake the internship they are applying to or scheduled to undertake.

It is the responsibility of applicants on a visa to ensure they comply with their visa requirements and do not exceed the maximum hours they are permitted to work in the UK.

Further information about studying and working in the UK can be found on Working in the UK. Please note: it is a criminal offence to exceed your working hours. If you have any questions about your ability to work in the UK whilst on a student visa, contact the University of Birmingham’s International Student Team


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