What is in an internship?
Internships vary from place to place. In a nutshell, it's an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and to expand your knowledge beyond the classroom. Unlike more short-term work experience, internships tend to span for several months, sometimes even years!
What's great about an internship, is being able to gain valuable experience that looks great on your student CV! It also helps you decide whether the industry is the one for you – before you commit to applying for full-time work. Whether you're taking a summer internship between your studies or looking for a way of catapulting your career in the industry after graduation, there's so much to gain from an internship.
There's no age requirement for internships. The majority of internships are for students already studying at university. But that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities for A-Level students looking to boost their personal statement or others looking to gain work experience without a degree.
Are internships paid?
The age-old question! While historically, many internships have gone unpaid, you can now expect to be paid for your internship. As an intern, you are classed as a ‘worker' and therefore entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
This may not extend to other forms of work experience like student internships as part of your course or work shadowing and placements. If pay isn't flagged in the job description, then be sure to reach out to the company to find out.
What to expect from your internship
So it might not be exactly as you see in the movies. There's much less running around like a headless chicken, making everyone coffees, picking up the CEO's dry cleaning or walking their dog.
Expect more shadowing people doing their jobs across different meetings, helping out with tasks and projects related to their roles. You'll have the chance to ask burning questions, attend meetings and get a feel for the working environment. While the experience will vary depending on the company and industry, there's no doubt you'll gain some seriously valuable experience.
How to get an internship
There are many ways to find an internship – from job boards, to university ads, to word of mouth. Take some time to research, chat to your careers advisors to see if there's any connected to the university on offer. You could even reach out to companies directly to see if they offer anything. This is also a really great way to stand out and get your name known!
Some great places to look for internships include:
Top brands offering internships
Spotify offers a few different ways of gaining experience, but their summer internship is sure to be competitive. Applications open every winter and are great for those looking to go into business or technical roles.
Barclays offer fresh grads a chance to sample the world of finance and have opportunities that span across all sectors of the business. They have a summer internships programme as well as off-cycle internships.
Gymshark have launched their placement programme for grads in recent years. Based out of Solihull, Birmingham, they've grown in popularity with students looking to experience the fast-paced world of an online business.
Red Bull partner with specific locations and universities across the UK to support uni students getting an internship. These internships are offered across sales and marketing, and you'll learn everything from their London home in Covent Garden.
Nestle regularly offer 10-week internships for students about to enter their final year of university. These usually run out of York or Crawley, and applications for June 2024 are already open!