Finding Internships and Work Experience


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Presentation by University of Sussex careers adviser, February 2013

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  • This session is about how to find Internships and Vacation schemes. The presentation will be put online after the session so please take notes if you wish but it will be available later.I will take questions afterwards but please also feel free to stay around after the session to ask me anythingLink to presentation slides is from:
  • What do you mean by Internships?Why should you do it?Formal work experience schemes & internshipsHow to set up your own work experience & finding contactsMaking contact
  • An Internship is an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees, called "interns", to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time. Interns are usually undergraduates or students, and most internships last for any length of time between one week and 12 months. Internships (also called "placements", "work placements" or "industrial placements") may be part-time or full-time. They are usually part-time if offered during a university semester and full-time if offered during the summer, winter or Easter holidays, when they typically last 4-12 weeks.Placements are usually full-time, and take place irrespective of term time or holiday time.
  • Confirming your career choices (or confirming that you have made the wrong choice!). Establishing a network of contacts to be used in the future, maybe for further work-experience opportunities or to help with finding a job after graduation. Having some relevant work experience on your CV – adds prestigeGaining an up to date work reference from an employer recognized by others who you might want to work withSeeing work from the inside and gaining a realistic view of what is involved. Developing more flexible communication skills and self-confidence in the context of employmentA chance to apply some of the knowledge or skills you have gained so far to the real working world. Some organisations increasingly view placements as part of their recruitment processes- impress and you could ease your way into a graduate role later
  • If you are classified as a worker you are entitled to the national minimum wage. There are a number of things that can determine whether you are classified as a worker:-Is there a contract, written or oral? Are you expected to work a minimum number of hours per week? Are you obliged to personally perform the work? Does that work provide a useful contribution to the organisation? Is there mutuality of obligations? That is, an obligation on the ‘employer’ to provide work and an obligation on the individual to accept that work -If the answer is yes to any of the above then you should generally be paid the national minimum wage.-The law requires employers to pay the National Minimum Wage for any kind of work, including work experience places, internships or placements schemes. -There are 2 levels of minimum wage £6.19 aged 21+ £4.98 aged 18-21-There are some exemptions - Students on work experience as part of their higher education course (Students on a work placement forming part of a UK higher or UK further education course if the work placement is for less than one year. - Volunteers - There are two types of volunteer; voluntary workers and volunteers. Voluntary workers work for a charity or an associated fund-raising body or statutory body. Volunteers do not work set hoursnot specify hours of work not outline duties that a student is expected to performnever rely on individuals on work experience placements to fulfill real jobs.-Law is as stated above- however grey area- many sectors including Media and TV, Politics still encourage unpaid work even though it is illegal. This is because of the demand for these types of placements and few complaints are made. Some people still do internships for a couple of weeks if they can afford it and feel it will benefit them. Long term commitment – say no. -CEC stance On our database we will only advertise unpaid opportunities that are either for a voluntary organisation or charity, or up to a maximum of 4 weeks (full time equivalent) for a non-charitable organisation. We ask all employers to offer the higher level National Minimum Wage (currently £6.19 per hour). Beware though!! We link to thousands of sites and you may see an unpaid experience on their. If you need advice about an opportunity you see, contact us.Tax but you only pay on earnings over £8,105. National Insurance – you will need to pay. Full details at: and safety – you should have a health and safety induction when you start work. This will cover things such as who to contact in an emergency and fire regulations.
  • Internships work differently in different sectors and in different companiesLarge corporations in areas of business, finance, retail, pharmaceuticals, advertising, law, engineering & IT will often have structured schemes (and always paid). A lot of companies will take into account your performance on internship if you apply for their graduate scheme- this is quite prevalent in Law firms. Often for penultimate year students, some for 1st years (HSBC 1st year summer internship, RBS Easter Insight, Ernst & Young 1st year programmes)Some sectors such as International Development, media, public services, environment may not offer structured schemes and you may need to try volunteering or speculative approaches
  • If you have a career area in mind, investigate if there are advertised opportunities in that area. Many companies offer formal schemes. You can search generally as there are many websites such as target jobs, prospects that have searchable databases of opportunities. However if you have a particular sector in mind, its likely that defining what you are looking for and being specific will reap rewards. There are so many internships available that it can become overwhelming and being targeted in your searching can be a productive way of finding the right internship for you. Our sector guides are a good way to do this.
  • We have detailed Sector Guides which will help you to target your search more specifically to the area you are interested in. Show guide- Development pages
  • Recruitment processes vary depending on the sector. Could be a CV or application. More structured schemes may also need you to complete psychometric test, assessment centres and interview. We have resources on the CEC website to help with every stage of the process and one-to-one help through an appointment with a Careers Adviser for feedback on applications, brief interview practice. When doing applications it’s important to take them seriously and give them adequate time and preparation. Research the role and the sector. Use the sector guides shown before. Then spend time thinking how you match what is required this role and market yourself for it in a CV or application form. 4th Dec Effective CVs and application forms
  • Set your aims and objectives and be clear about what you want to achieve from the placementResearch the occupation and organisation before you begin approaching themThink about what you could offer them (skills, specific pieces of work) eg. journalismesp magazines Check out the National Council of Work Experience guidelines at the Prospects Quality Work Experience (about work experience)
  • Friends, family, friends of friends .... Don’t be afraid to ask around. If you have any contacts, use them!Academics, your personal tutor, lecturers etcContacts from past work experience, vacation work etc.Vacancies advertised in newspapers at Careers & Employability. If you have seen a company that interests you use the contact details from the vacancy advert.You can search for employers by name and type on the our website: in journals, magazines, reports, the press.The phone book and Yellow Pages ( )Specialist directories and lists of companiesLinked in – growing in importance – we have a social media session this week
  • Careers and Employability Centre information centre See a careers adviser Review your application Attend an event - employer presentations/recruitment fairs Web based information and resources – look in research section of our website for further information about making contacts Ask other people- it may feel like a lot of effort but it is definitely worth it- keep your motivation uo
  • Finding Internships and Work Experience

    1. 1. Finding Internships and Work Experience
    2. 2. What will we cover?• What is it?• Why do it?• The schemes• Doing it yourself• Making contact• How can we help?
    3. 3. What is an Internship?• An opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees called “Interns”, to work at in an organisation for a fixed, limited period of time• Internships can last between a week and 12 months• Can be full or part time• Interns are usually students, or graduates who have not yet found permanent employment
    4. 4. Why should you do it?• Is it the right career choice?• Establishing contacts• Relevant work experience on your CV• Gain up to date work reference• Get a realistic view of what is involved• Developing skills• Apply skills and knowledge• Get a job!
    5. 5. Should I be paid?•YES (but there are some exemptions for voluntaryworkers)•We have detailed guidelines on our website aboutunpaid internships, the law and our
    6. 6. The schemes- Different sectors, different schemes- Large corporations’ structured internships- Deadlines often Jan- March time- Often for penultimate year students, some for 1st years- Some sectors may not offer structured schemes
    7. 7. How to find opportunitiesGeneral websites include:- – dedicated site- – searchable database of summer internships- searchable databaseOur jobs database: (search under vacation)Our Getting Experience sections:
    8. 8. Sector Specific Information- checkout our Sector Guides
    9. 9. STEP Internships• The University of Sussex now partners with the long-running national STEP programme.• They offer 12 week internships (generally in the summer) for students and recent graduates or all disciplines. Some are exclusive to Sussex students to give you the best chance of success.• They are meaningful learning opportunities to help you develop your skills, and you will be paid £215 per week.• You need to register on the external STEP website here
    10. 10. Other Current OpportunitiesLots of opportunities on our website at the moment including:- Concordia - Youth work in Brighton- Challenge Network - Youth Project Work- Lloyds of London Summer Internship- Print News Intern - Bloomberg- Editorial Intern - Penguin Books- Wild Packs Summer camps - America- Santander Internships locally - e learning, social media- Summer Marketing Internship
    11. 11. How to apply• Recruitment processes can include CV or application form.• Important to research the role and the sector.• Market yourself for that role.
    12. 12. International work experience• Do your research- into the country- into the application methods• Where to look (search under vacation)
    13. 13. Arranging your own Internship orWork Experience- Set your aims- Research- Think about what you could offer- Check out the NCWE guidelines Look at definitions
    14. 14. Creative Approaches- findingcontacts• Social contacts• Academics• Previous work experience• Newspapers• _employers• Names in journals, magazines, reports, the press.• The phone book and Yellow Pages ( )• Specialist directories and lists of companies• Linked in – growing in importance
    15. 15. Other opportunities• Workshadowing• Careers events• Insight days for law, accountancy etc• Volunteering - Project V• Part time and summer work• Student societies
    16. 16. Careers and Employability Support• Careers and Employability Centre information centre• Talk through your ideas and approaches with a careers adviser• Review your application• Attend an event - employer presentations/recruitment fairs• Use the research section of our website