4 luglio 2020
UK Internships: A Guide for Students
For students, completing internships and work placements during a year abroad or over the summer period is the perfect introduction to the world of work. It’s something that all students should consider doing to set them apart from other candidates applying for their first jobs!
On your internship you’ll get to experience a real working environment first-hand, and learn the essential skills that’ll help you to get your first job and embark on a successful career. And what’s more, many companies treat internships as extended job interviews, so you could easily end up landing your dream job when you complete your internship!
Internships in the UK
Internships across the UK are booming, as both established businesses and start-ups look to benefit from the top talent from universities across the world. There are around 6 million registered UK businesses, and at any one time a quick search on a jobsite will bring up thousands of advertised internships in the UK.
With several huge commercial hubs to choose from including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh, there are plenty of options when you start applying for internships in the UK.
What does a UK internship involve?
If you choose to spend a placement year in the UK as part of your university course, you can expect to start with your company around July/August time, and complete your internship at the same time the following year. If this is what you go for, you’ll be immersed in the life of your business from day one.
UK businesses offering year-long internships will throw you in at the deep end - because this is how you’ll learn the most and develop over the course of the year. You’ll be treated the same as other employees and given responsibility over your own work and projects.
Internships during summers between university semesters are a simple way to fill up your CV with valuable experience that will greatly help you when you’re looking for your first job.
These will generally be between four and twelve weeks, and can vary in terms of how much responsibility you’ll be given - shorter internships will be more about showing you the ropes and giving you a taster of the industry, meanwhile longer internships will involve full-scale projects for you to get stuck into.
Are internships in the UK paid?
For a year-long internship in the UK, you should definitely expect to be paid. You may not become rich, but businesses will certainly pay you enough to get by during your internship!
Summer internships are usually paid in the UK, with wages similar to a part-time job - although this isn’t always the case. Once again, you won’t earn a lot of money, but you should be able to cover your expenses. Shorter internships may be unpaid, although businesses often cover daily travel and lunch costs.
When should you start looking for internships in the UK?
You should start looking for internships in the UK 4-6 months before you want to start. If at first you don’t succeed in securing an internship, make sure you keep looking, as opportunities will become available all the time! Some companies will even offer internships that start immediately, meaning you could be on your way to the UK tomorrow to start!
For businesses running structured internship programmes, their application processes usually begin around February/March time. They’ll have specific dates for their internships, so make sure you’re free before you apply! Smaller companies offering more flexible internships will accept applications throughout the year, and they will fit you in when best suits you.
How to apply for an internship in the UK
Before applying for internships you first need to first work out what type of company you’d like to work for. Do as much research into different businesses as you can, and have a look at their career pages for internship opportunities.
Many companies take interns but don’t advertise on their websites, so it’s also a good idea to send an email to the company (preferably the HR department, but the general enquiries email address should be fine) to ask about opportunities.
Here are 5 top tips when applying for an internship:
- Write a detailed cover letter which explains why you want the job and why you will benefit the company by hiring you as an intern
- Tailor your CV to show skills and experiences that are relevant to the business, and make it interesting - try to let your personality shine through
- Review your application through the HR manager’s eyes - if you were them, would you be impressed by the application?
- Make sure you’re aware of when the deadline for the application is
- Apply for more than one internship to increase your chances of getting one!
Paysend: The perfect companion for your UK internship
When you arrive in the UK to start an internship, the last thing you want to worry about is high bank fees for using your card overseas, or having to take out hundreds of pounds in cash before you go.
But don’t panic - the Paysend Global Account is a seamless international money account which helps you to enjoy your internship experience to the full. It’s been designed to help expat workers, frequent travelers and students abroad manage their money with freedom and simplicity.
Here are some of the benefits of the Paysend Global Account for interns:
- Exchange your money into British pounds for free
- Spend like a local with your Paysend Mastercard with zero fees
- Instantly freeze and unfreeze your card if you lose it
- Receive money to your account from your parents for free