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 on your career journey. 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 a valuable network of contacts.
Work experience and internships
Internships and work experience really make you stand out in a competitive jobs market. High Fliers research in 2014 showed that 37% of graduate vacancies with 100 top graduate recruiters went to graduates who had already worked for their organisations, either through internships, vacation schemes or industrial placements. Careers Network can help you make it happen with support to find, secure and finance work experience opportunities. From conservation projects in China to working for a social enterprise in the UK our students undertake exciting and rewarding work opportunities.
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’.
Our work experience bursary schemes enable undergraduate students to undertake opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Bursaries are awarded following a competitive applications process in which successful candidates are selected by a panel of experts, on their application form and interview performance. We also target some funding for specific priority groups, ensuring everyone has equal access to good quality work experience.
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.
Guild volunteers have an induction and receive advice and support before and during the period of volunteering. Specialised training including Child Protection and First Aid, and free Disclosure and Barring Service checks (a requirement of UK law) are also provided 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 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.