They are typically formal and structured programmes which last for 6-12 weeks, traditionally during the summer vacation. There are also opportunities for recent graduates to work throughout the year.  They are usually paid and you will often have a specific project to complete. It can be competitive to gain a place. 

Successfully completing an internship with a company will increase your chances of securing a graduate job with them, but it’s important to remember that not all graduate jobs are given to former interns. Other types of work experience can be just as useful.

Many employers use internships and placements as a fast track onto their graduate programmes. Most internship opportunities advertised by large graduate recruiters are aimed at pre-final year students. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) also offer internships, although they are not always advertised.

What are the benefits of an internship?

Internships can help you: 

  • gain hands-on experience with a company in your chosen field, this is useful evidence for your skills and motivation when applying for graduate jobs.
  • decide where your future career interests lie.
  • make contacts within the sector, some students secure graduate jobs with their internship provider if they impress enough.

When should you apply for an internship?

Applications start to open in September, the year before the internship will take place. They start to close between November and February. 

Some companies may recruit all year round, particularly SMEs, but it is best to start looking as early as possible.


These are very similar to Internships, however placements are usually credit bearing and are considered part of your degree course.

Most large graduate recruiters offer summer internships to undergraduates, usually to students in their penultimate year. Closing dates for applications tend to be very early in the academic year, so it's vital to apply early. 

Further Resources and Information