What is an Internship?


Internships are usually taken by students and recent graduates who have an idea of what kind of career path they would like to take and are looking to learn specific skills or gain specific experience.

Internships can last from a few weeks during holidays or up to a year depending on the employment sector and individual employer.
Some employers use internships to gauge a graduate’s skills, and many of them go on to recruit interns who have proved their worth and gained a good understanding of the company procedures and how they operate. Internships are an excellent way to gain real world skills and experience in a sector you are interested in and to help future employment chances. There is a ‘Your Stories’ section on the Graduate Talent Pool website where it is possible to read real world experiences of other interns to see how their experiences benefitted them.

Before looking to start an internship a few things should be considered; the type of career, location flexibility, start dates, the contract length and whether the internship needs to be paid or not.

An internship can provide many benefits by not only allowing someone to try out a particular role, but to also understand how working life is, how to work with other people as part of a team and meeting deadlines. It also provides an opportunity to network and learn about how a particular industry works in the ‘real world’.

Internships should provide at last the National Minimum Wage if the job falls under the role of a ‘worker’, which is typically someone who has set hours, duties or responsibilities. However there are some exceptions. Interns who are work shadowing, working for a registered charity, a sandwich placement as part of a higher education course, or people undertaking work experience as part of ‘Back to Work’ or similar schemes are not required to be paid.

To find an internship you can visit the Graduate Talent Pool website. The website allows you to search for internships in different UK organisations of any size from public, private and voluntary sectors.

Before applying for an internship, you must have gradated with at least a foundation degree from a UK university, graduated in 2012, 2013 or 2014, and are from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA).

For internships and work placements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are other resources.


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