Everything you need to know about Internships

Ani Talwar·25 June 2021·6 min read
Everything you need to know about Internships

Education as a means to gain work is familiar to everyone, as is striving to get some experience. Internships are a good way to do that, providing shorter term work experience opportunities under the watchful eye of experienced professionals. These aren’t always paid, but the variety of options available mean you can get a benefit in a multitude of ways.

Virtual Internships

Given the delicate balance the world has shifted into, and the appreciation we now have for how quickly situations can change, virtual internships are a great opportunity for students to gain the necessary experience without being hindered by travel or safety restrictions as much.

These come in two types: structured programmes into business and short programmes on specific skills; and involve in depth tasks and experience. The virtual nature of the internship means you don’t have travel costs, you can be far more flexible, you can be anywhere, and it’s increasingly accessible whilst still developing great skills. ratemyplacement.co.uk has a plethora of different virtual internship options, and there are several including with Google themselves.

Google began virtual internships in 2020, during the pandemic, and had students from 43 countries enrolled virtually. For 2021, Google has confirmed that their internships will remain virtual, owing in part to the increased options this avenue presents. The new Development Hub, created to help those working virtually, aids users as well as the coffee chat set up between interns and the 2600 current employees to help students learn the ropes quicker. For current opportunities you can apply and read up on how to create your resume here

Spring/Autumn Internships

Whilst summer internships are traditionally what companies offer, spring and autumn internships also exist. These are short opportunities that are more common with smaller businesses who may otherwise not be able to support interns through the whole summer, but can take on opportunities during the busier periods of the year, allowing you to gain hands on experience but on a different timeframe.

This is especially good for those who have an unavailable summer but want to gain experience, or for people who want some experience but not necessarily in a bigger business. There are several of these opportunities listed on websites like Glassdoor.

Sotheby’s in London currently offers an internship of this kind, titled their ‘Autumn Internship Programme,’ which is a 12 week programme in a department of the students choosing. The experience entails using technological and client systems, Research projects and even coordinating valuation document sand client proposals.

Year Long internships: Placements

Whether they’re called internships or placements, the option to have a sandwich year between your degree, or just a year long internship creates huge opportunities. Sandwich years are when you take a year from your degree, and instead spend it in a business gaining hands on experience, before resuming your degree at the end of the year.

These can be arranged with your university if you apply for a course that includes a year in industry, or a placement year, but you can also independently apply for these too, through online forms and interviews. Degree courses typically including these years in industry include engineering, science and construction.

The Royal Society of Biology offers several ‘industrial and summer placements’ through several big businesses including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Merck, Sharp and Dohme. The Society also has several summer intern placements on offer with Unilever, John Innes Centre and IAESTE to name a few, and even graduate schemes with Cancer Research UK. (More information: https://www.rsb.org.uk/careers-and-cpd/careers/industrial-summer-placements )

Vacation Internships

Vacation Placements apply specifically to Law, but are a more flexible form of experience lasting between a week or a month. The positives of this is that you’re not limited to summer only, with deadlines around Easter, Christmas and the summer, and firms are increasingly offering virtual experience aimed at first year students. Furthermore, there’s an opening not only to gain experience, but also to get paid with some schemes offering £500 per week.

Another form of Vacation Internship is also known as a Vacation Bursary, such as the one run by the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This allows undergraduate students to have a taste of what it’s like to do university research at a university, and nearly 15 of these are awarded per year, paying at least National Living Wage, though some organisations can chose to pay more. (For specifics see: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/dta/vacation/ )

Credited Internships

Internships do not only provide money and experience. With the right communication and internship company, your work can also be translated into university credit to aid towards your final degree. For this, your internship must be more related to your degree, and this changes based on the internship you do and the university you’re at. However, if you manage to gain an internship like this you could get not only the experience, but academic credit too.

For more information on credited internships and how to negotiate one, you can see this guide by The Intern Group