Internships and volunteering work can help boost a CV significantly, especially before entering the world of work. Volunteering or interning is a great way enhance your real world experiences and demonstrate your passion and commitment to persuing your area of study. Moreover, there are plenty of opportunities to gain this experience no matter where you are, and if its in the UK or overseas.
What is an internship?
Sometimes called a work placement or volunteering, they’ve become an established stepping stone into employment. An internship gives you the opportunity to work at a company to learn new skills and gain experience in a particular industry or job role. You'll learn about the industry, their processes, how to communicate professionally, and learn skills that you can transfer into further study or employment thereafter.
- Work shadowing – you follow one or more members of a team throughout their day, allowing you to learn directly from experienced, support them in their role to gain hands-on experience, and potentially work with some top industry professionals and experienced mentors.
- Work experience placements – give you a taste of working in your chosen profession or field. These are often part of degree courses, but there is also a range of programmes for school leavers available as a stepping stone into the world of work, to gain more understanding about a profession before you commit to a degree, or simply to gain more rounded skills. You could arrange your own placement by contacting companies directly, or request support from a careers advisor in your school or college. Placements can last from a few days through to several weeks, or longer for more hands-on professions. Work placements are often a path learners choose to get experience in a company they want to work in, and therefore lead to employment there.
- School leaver programmes and holiday schemes – offered by some of the larger management, financial, and accountancy firms. These act as training programmes and a way for companies and interns to find out if it is the right role and company for them. Companies might be searching for fresh thinkers, or enthusiastic learners to join further programmes or employment.
Do internships pay?
This will depend on the company you work for. Not all pay but it is best to check this on a personal basis as you may find some that do. If an intern is classed as a ‘worker’ rather than a ‘volunteer’, they’re normally paid at least the national minimum wage.
For more information on internships and volunteering and the different companies they can be done with look at the UCAS guide to internships and volunteering.
Alternatively, chat with our current students who will be able to share this information with you and any other course-related queries.
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