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Types of internship and placement

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Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers.

There are a range of options available to you, but there will be differences between industries and types of role. The majority of 'structured' placements and internships will be paid, but in some sectors, unpaid internships are more common. Read our paid and unpaid page for more details. 

The term 'internship' and 'placement', can refer to opportunities such as:

 

Summer or vacation internships

Many companies offer paid summer internships, which last between six and twelve weeks, predominantly targeted at penultimate year students. However, some companies will consider students from other years if they demonstrate the right skills and aptitude.

In some career sectors, companies offer unpaid work experience placements, for example within the advertising and fashion sectors. 

Students interested in gaining work experience through internships can apply for opportunities with exciting local start-ups and SMEs through the Nottingham Internship scheme.

You can also find hundreds of opportunities through My Career on our sources of vacancies page.

Enhanced Summer Placements Scheme for Civil Engineers

Industrial sponsorship opportunities (including summer placements) can be applied for from first year onwards. Opportunities are available with: Pick Everard, RPS Newark, Sir Robert McAlpine, Taylor Woodrow, WSP PB.

Download the application form MS Word Icon

Work shadowing

Work shadowing involves spending some time, perhaps a day or two, observing someone at work to gain a flavour of their responsibilities and job activities. 

Networking and contacting companies directly will help you identify possible people you could shadow.

Case study - Matt's first-year internship

Photo of Matt Kempa

The best aspect of the internship was the people, I loved the office I worked in and it was truly a pleasure to go there every day and learn.

 

 - Matt Kempa, second-year Computer Science

Read about Matt's experience on his internship in the Careers Handbook on page 14. 

On our blog

Read about Charlotte Lambert's week-long placement with Sky.

 

Industrial placements and placement years

Integrated Industrial Placements

A number of courses at Nottingham include an integrated industrial year that is a compulsory assessed part of the degree programme.Typically the placement or job role will be aligned to your field of study.

The courses offering these placements include: bioscience, chemistry, computer science, engineering, neuroscience, pharmaceutical science and physics.

You can discuss how to find your placement with your personal tutor, placement coordinator in your school, or a member of our team.

Optional Placement Year

Students on a course without an integrated compulsory industrial year can opt to undertake a placement at the end of their penultimate year of study. This minimum nine-month placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or it can be in an unrelated field that is more related to an area of career interest.

Undertaking an optional placement year will extend a three-year degree programme to four years (or a four-year degree programme to five years).

If you wish to consider an optional placement year please contact our placement team:

placements@nottingham.ac.uk

Studentships for science students

If you would like to gain hands-on experience in a research laboratory over the summer, there are a range of academic societies and charities who offer summer studentships.

These projects typically last 6-8 weeks and take place between your second and third year, or your third and fourth if you are on a four-year course.

Some useful places to start your search are:

 

Insight days and spring weeks

Insight days and spring weeks can be a great opportunity to find out about the world of work in a sector you are interested in.

Typically for first-year university students who are beginning to think about their career prospects, you will be given the opportunity to spend up to five days at a company's offices to find out about how the industry operates, take part in group tasks and business games. 

These are a great way to make yourself known to recruiters and build a network of contacts. For more information about insight days, read our blog explaining the full benefits, and how to apply for these opportunities.

One-off opportunities

You may want to search for an internship yourself, as some companies won't advertise vacancies, but may want a student for a specific project.

Contact companies directly to find out if they can offer you a period of work experience - perhaps a couple of weeks or longer. These work placements are less likely to be structured, but can often offer extremely valuable work experience that you can reference when applying for graduate jobs

Book a careers appointment to get help

 
 

 

Careers and Employability Service

The University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679
email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk