Internships and placements
Work experience in an organisation can be hugely valuable in developing your professional and technical skills and experience, as well as providing an opportunity for you to see how much you enjoy and are suited to a role or industry. This is generally broken down into two categories:
Placements, also referred to as sandwich placements, placement years or industrial placements are usually undertaken during your studies and are usually related to the subject you are studying, as they are designed to provide practical industry experience. These are paid opportunities which usually last 9-12 months and take place between the second and final year of an undergraduate degree.
Internships for undergraduates are generally shorter, usually taking place over summer and lasting 1-4 months. Employers offering these type of opportunities usually specify students in their second year of study as they require a reasonable amount of technical knowledge (however our Summer Experience internships are open to first and second year undergraduates). Like placements, these should always pay at least national minimum wage.
You might also see graduate internships advertised which offer work experience to recent grads but these are generally less defined than undergraduate opportunities and could last anywhere from a week to a year. These type of internships could be unpaid or only pay expenses, so think carefully when applying for these about whether you can afford to live and whether the experience will be worth it overall - we recommend that you should always look for paid opportunities wherever possible. See more on the law on unpaid internships on TARGETjobs.
There are also insight weeks which are usually aimed at first year students as an introduction to a specific role or industry, and may also be targeted to underrepresented groups; these typically take place in Spring.
As a result of the coronavirus lockdown, virtual internships have become more widespread - these might be group sessions delivered on specific dates or an online programme you can do in your own time which give an idea of the tasks and function of a specific role. These should be free to take part in. Examples include the Bright Network and Forage. Have a look at the Gude to Virtual Internships by RateMyPlacement.
Career and Employability Services runs programmes for both undergraduates and recent graduates to gain valuable work experience:
- Summer Experience is our programme of six-week paid projects for first and second year undergraduates.
- The Bradford Graduate Internship programme provides recent graduates with 10-week paid internship projects to improve employability skills, which can often lead on to full-time employment.
- Erasmus+ work experience opportunities in Europe (login required). Speak to our International Opportunities team to find out more.
Think ahead. Think placements. Promoting Placements
University of Bradford Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences undergraduate students passionately share their thoughts on the value of doing a one year placement.
Think ahead. Think placements. Achievements
University of Bradford Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences undergraduate students highlighting the personal, interpersonal and professional skills they developed during their one year placement and what they contributed to the organisations they were employed by.
Think ahead. Think placements. | How the placement helped me
Where to look
Below is a list of websites that feature opportunities for work experience in a range of sectors and work experience types, followed by sites with specific opportunities for each faculty.
- Rate My Placement
- Prospects work experience
- Handshake Career Centre jobs
- Summer Experience – A summer programme with local employers offering work experience to University of Bradford undergraduate students.
- You can also search for placements within Build My Career under the My Jobs tab. (For graduates or if you are using a personal email, use this link.
- Glassdoor (includes some interview questions that organisations commonly use)
- All About Careers
- Indeed (search for sandwich year placements)
- Law Careers (law placements)
- Step – Placements and work experience in smaller businesses
- E Financial Careers
- Going Global (overseas opportunities)
Management, Law and Social Sciences
School of Management and School of Law
- Inside Careers Accounting, Tax, Banking, IT, Insurance and Pensions
- Law Careers
- All About Finance Careers
- All About Law Vacation Schemes Hub
School of Social Sciences
Internships and placements for International Students
Internships are periods of paid work experience of up to three months and in order to comply with visa regulations, any internship carried out by an international student must fit the description outlined in the British Council / Education UK website. To comply with the regulations, all internships must be paid and this can be a problem for international students as some internships are unpaid. If you are offered a period of unpaid work experience, you could classify this as temporary or part-time work and not as an internship.
Sandwich placements (also known as Industrial Placements or Year in industry) are periods of paid work experience, normally carried out in the third year of a four year undergraduate degree. For some courses, sandwich placements are compulsory and if this is the case, then you will be provided with support from your faculty. Find out if your faculty has a Placements Tutor or Coordinator as they will have important information on undertaking placements as part of your degree course and where to look for vacancies.
International students can participate in sandwich placements with the current Tier 4 Student visa. However, as a placement student, you are still registered and will receive support as a student at the university and hence will still have to pay fees (albeit much reduced fees) – please check with your faculty.
This is a very good opportunity for you to gain practical work experience in your relevant field and experience working in the UK. Over the years, many international students have been successful in getting industrial placements in major companies as well as in small medium size enterprise (SMEs). Applications for these placements can be very competitive, especially in large national or international companies, so you should start applying early as most have closing dates between December and February.
It is also possible to do an industrial placement in your own country. However, you will need to check the suitability of each placement with your faculty’s Placement Tutor / Coordinator.
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