So you've got some spare time and want to gain some experience before getting a permanent job. Haaave you met internships in the UK? Through internships in the UK, you get the chance to give different fields of interest a trial run and get the additional benefit of testing out the work environment of a foreign country. Think of it as playing a demo before buying the actual game. It gives you a taste of what is to come without the pressure of it being permanent. Have we caught your interest yet? Well, here's a detailed guide to internships in the UK to clear things up because trust us, internships are quite different from their portrayal in movies.
Can international students do internships in the UK?
If you’re an international student, you are allowed to apply for internships in the UK, but beware of the competition. Scoring internships in the UK can be just as difficult as getting into the country’s top universities. The reason behind this high competition is the excellent benefits these opportunities bring! Several UK universities notice the boost that internships give to one’s professional and communication skills, and offer part-time job schedules along with the study timetable. If you wish to do an internship, you must make sure it won’t take up more than one-third of your studies.
What are the benefits of doing internships in the UK?
As mentioned before, internships are quite beneficial for those who do them but it can certainly be challenging to juggle with studies. Let’s look at some benefits of working while you study that make this slightly tedious lifestyle worth it:
1. Experience for your CV or Resume
Internships are the perfect chance to add value to your CV with an experience section. You can use it to back your claim as a valuable addition to any firm or institution in a relevant field.
2. Improved Skill Set
An internship experience is much more than claims to make on your CV. If you spend your internship time well, you will be rewarded with an exceptionally developed skill set which will aid you when applying to any relevant roles in the future.
3. Choosing a Field
Internships aid in choosing your career as you will get a taste of how it feels to work in the fields that interest you. This is vital and can be a game-changer if you’re in two minds about which field to pick. Internships also introduce you to roles you might not have previously considered.
4. Builds a network
Not only do internships give you a peek into the industry’s workings, but they give you the opportunity to gain contacts in your field. This is quite useful when looking for mentors, job opportunities, or even getting a recommendation letter to attach to your CV.
5. Job Opportunity
As mentioned in the previous point, internships assist in creating bonds with those who are already established in your industry. This can help you in the future when looking for jobs. Not only that, some interns opt for an internship in the hopes of getting a full-time position at the same company later. Doing an internship first helps them as well as the employer get an idea of their compatibility with the company’s ideals and work style in the long term. If this is your aim, make sure you research how likely getting a job opportunity is before applying for an internship.
6. Extra Source of Income
Of course, there are several interns whose main purpose for getting an internship is to get an additional source of earning. If you fit this case, make sure the internships you are applying for is of the paid kind. Obviously, internships give you the chance to earn in riches higher than just the financial kind, but having a bit of extra money never hurt anyone. Let’s take a look at paid internships in the UK.
Are there any paid internships in the UK?
Yes, there are several paid internships in the UK that you can opt for if you’re looking for an internship that gives you experience and an additional source of income. You can be assured you are legally owed at least the minimum wage for your age in the UK, if you are classified as a worker. Most interns come under the category of workers unless their work purely consists of shadowing someone else.
If you’re confused about whether you’re considered a worker, we’ve made it easier for you. You’re a worker if you:
- work for a fixed number of hours
- have the same duties as paid members
- meet your deadlines
- work without supervision or supervise others
It is important to know what you rightfully deserve and unpaid internships tend to exploit interns by not paying them what they are legally entitled to. Most online internships are unpaid so make sure you consider this when applying. The best approach to internships is to be open to both unpaid and paid internships if you aren’t in immediate need of monetary assistance. According to Indeed, the average salary for internships in the UK is £22,683 per year.
How long are internships in the UK?
Internships can last anywhere between a week to a year depending on the employer and the field. Student internships are generally shorter than graduate ones. Summer internships on the other hand, last the length of summer break, generally between 2 to 3 months.
How to find internships in the UK?
Now that you’ve read all about the benefits of internships in the UK, we’re sure you’ll be wondering where to find these amazing internships. You’ll be glad to know that there isn’t just one way to get internships. Here are some of the tested and true ways of getting internships in the UK:
Yes, we know how distressing it can be to open LinkedIn just to face a sea of posts about people’s success and how easy it can be to get lost in comparisons but you have to admit it. LinkedIn is an incredible networking tool that connects you to those in the industry and helps you find job openings quite easily. The same rings true for internships! You can check out LinkedIn pages and groups for your field of interest as these frequently post updates on any internship options.
2. Sites for internships in the UK
Another online method of seeking internships in the UK is using internship websites or portals, which often post about the full-time and part-time job and internship openings in the UK. Some internship websites in the UK are:
Student Circus: mainly for students with a Tier 4 Visa.
Milkround: a well-known job search engine in the UK mostly suitable for first-timers as it comes with CV and resume templates, cover letters, and job applications.
TARGET Jobs: a platform similar to Facebook, with several threads about job openings, online workshops, discussions, and much more.
E4S: best for finding short summer internships, part-time jobs, and full-time jobs.
Rate My Placement: an easy-to-use website that adds your portfolio and generates traction amongst many UK employers.
3. Government Website
Gov.UK is another useful website offering various job opportunities, including permanent positions, part-time, and internships in the UK.
4. Placement Cells in the UK
Most universities have placement cells, offering students internships in the UK. Not only do they provide you with internship opportunities but they also help you with resources and documents.
5. Company Websites
Several companies now have their own websites that students can use to either apply for internships or contact companies.
Universities offering internships in the UK
As mentioned above, several universities in the UK themselves offer their students opportunities to intern in order to develop their skills and give them experience. Here are some of the universities that offer students paid internships in the UK:
1. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
2. Coventry University, Central London
3. University of Sussex
4. University of Salford
5. University of Glasgow
6. Nottingham Trent University
7. Loughborough University
8. Queen Mary University of London
9. Sheffield Hallam University
10. Manchester Metropolitan University
How can I apply for internships in the UK?
If you're planning to apply for internships in the UK, be prepared for competition and we don’t mean the kind of competition Billy and Nick had to power through in The Internship, although an internship with contests like that could be quite fun. It is just as difficult to get an internship as it is to get a permanent job here. This is quite evident in fields such as law, healthcare, social care, media, and teaching which require experience. Make sure you start applying at least six months in advance. However, some companies do have specific deadlines so ensure you don't miss out on them.
The actual application process differs from company to company. Some ask you to fill out an online form and attend an interview. Others only require you to submit your CV and cover letter. If you're contacting a company that you wish to work for, you can call them up beforehand to find out who to send enquiries to. If you're still uncertain on how to apply for an internship, check out our blog on applying for an internship for some detailed information.
What are the entry requirements for internships in the UK?
Although the specific requirements vary from company to company, you will require a Tier 5 GAE worker visa in order to legally work as an intern in the UK. To apply for this visa, you will need:
- A sponsor
- To meet the eligibility criteria
- A placement offer for a paid or unpaid internship from a UK company
We hope we’ve granted you enough information to help you navigate internships in the UK. You will surely gain a lot of helpful experience and skills that help you in the long game. Let’s just hope you don’t get stuck with Miranda Priestly for a boss.