Being able to demonstrate your experience of the world of work, when coupled with an excellent degree from a respected university, can really help you to secure that all-important first job.
At Birmingham, we give you all the support you need to secure work experience, internships and volunteer placements which can help you to develop personal and professional skills that are highly valued by employers. At the same time, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to your chosen career path and be building valuable contacts. It really does make all the difference to your employability… and your CV.
Work experience and internships
The University of Birmingham has developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements which cover a wide range of aspirations, from travelling abroad to assist on conservation projects, to gaining crucial experience within UK organisation.
A number of our schools and departments give you the opportunity to take a year in industry as part of your degree. UK and European Economic Area students can also undertake a year-long placement by requesting a ‘leave of absence’ from the University, particularly popular where year placements are not a formal part of a degree. Careers Network can support you in finding a year placement.
We also run a Work Experience Bursary scheme which provides financial support for undergraduate students wishing to take low or unpaid work experience during their summer vacation. A panel of experts assesses competitive applications from students and selects successful award winners based on their application form and interview performance. Again, check with Careers Network for more info.
Volunteering is fast becoming an essential part of the student experience, and research tells us that 93% of our volunteers believe that taking part in volunteering has increased their employability.
The University's Guild of Students has more than 150 different volunteering opportunities that students can participate in on a regular or one-off basis. You could support a local voluntary organisation or international charity such as Oxfam or the British Red Cross, one of 30 student-led volunteering projects or even set up and run your own project.
Intervol (International Volunteering) also sends around 100 student every year to projects across the globe, including Aids Awareness in Cambodia and Kenya, conservation work and other long-term initiatives.
All volunteers registered with the Guild receive a volunteer induction plus advice, guidance and support before and during the period of volunteering. The Guild also provides specialised training including Child Protection and First Aid, and free Criminal Records Bureau (a requirement of UK law) checks to those volunteering with a Guild project. Volunteering undertaken through the Guild of Students is also recognised as part of the Personal Skills Award (PSA).
The Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP) offers a number of exceptional students the opportunity to receive one-to-one mentoring from high-profile Birmingham alumni throughout their final year. The leadership mentors – experts in their fields, from media to medicine – spend time with you to provide practical advice on employability and offer invaluable support as you prepare to enter the workplace.
Further information can be found on the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme pages.