Employer FAQ & Resources

Resources for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to learn more about the University of Birmingham, Careers Network and recruitment.

Get to know our University, types of opportunities which our students seek and access resources to help you plan your recruitment. For enquiries, please contact the Employer Relations Team on recruiters@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call 0121 415 9026.

What subjects do University of Birmingham students study?

Students may undertake courses in a wide range of courses across all five colleges, including:

College of Arts & Law

  • African Studies
  • American and Canadian Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Drama and Theatre Arts
  • English Literature
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Theology and Religion

College of Social Sciences

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Education
  • European Studies
  • International Relations
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Planning
  • Political Science
  • Russian and East European Studies
  • Social Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

 College of Engineering & Physical Sciences

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgy and Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy

College of Life & Environmental Sciences

  • Biological Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geography
  • Psychology
  • Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

College of Medical & Dental Sciences

  • Applied Health Research
  • Biomedical Science
  • Cancer and Genomic Sciences
  • Cardiovascular Sciences
  • Clinical Sciences
  • Dentistry
  • Immunology and Immunotheraphy
  • Inflammation and Ageing
  • Medicine
  • Metabolism and Systems Research
  • Microbiology and Infection
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy

Types of work experience employers can offer

There are a variety of work experience types which can be offered to suit your business needs. Typically, work experience fall into one of the following categories:

Graduate Opportunity includes full-time and part-time positions and graduate schemes. Entry-level position that requires a degree paying the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or above. 

Postgraduate Opportunity includes full-time and part-time positions and graduate schemes. Position that requires a postgraduate degree (Master’s, PhD) paying the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or above. 

 Funded PhD Opportunity are PhD projects with funding attached such as an annual stipend. We are interested in niche opportunities (opportunities that are not already widely advertised e.g. on FindAPhD.com). PhD opportunities for all academic areas are accepted. 

Internships include candidates carrying out specific work- related tasks over a set period of time. The aim of an internship is to provide the intern with professional experience and the opportunity to develop skills related to working in a particular sector or profession. Should be paid at the higher rate of National Minimum Wage. Ranging typically from one week to 12 weeks during a vacation. They may work full time or part time hours. 

Graduate Internship involve candidates carry out specific work- related tasks over a set period of time. The aim of an internship is to provide the intern with professional experience and the opportunity to develop skills related to working in a particular sector or profession. Should be paid at the higher rate of National Minimum Wage. Graduate Internships can be for a longer period, having already left university. They may work full time or part time hours. 

Placement aimed at students enrolled on a higher education course which includes a period of work experience. On completion of the placement, the student gains credits towards their degree programme. The placement helps to combine academic theory with practice. The experience is usually paid by the organisation. This should not exceed one year. 

Work experience (including work shadowing) is intended to enable students to develop their skills and knowledge. The student is not expected to undertake specific work-related tasks, but is given the opportunity to learn more about the sector/profession through activities such as observation, shadowing, attending meetings, talking to employees. This is non-contractual and unpaid, as the student should not be carrying out tasks which an employee or worker would do.

Most work shadowing opportunities are one or two day experiences; however in larger organisations there may be enough opportunities to last a week. Most work experience opportunities are no more than 4 weeks or 20 working days within a 10-week period.

Fee-paying Oversees Opportunity refers to any work experience opportunities outside of the UK requiring a financial payment from students. When your opportunities are placed on our database they include a disclaimer making our students/graduates aware that this opportunity is outside of our terms of advising and they should undertake their own research into the advertised opportunity. We reserve the right not to advertise any position we deem unsuitable for our students and graduates.

Payment and renumeration

We encourage employers to pay our students and graduates at least the higher rate of National Minimum Wage. (See National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.) However, we recommend employers pay salaries reflecting the level of work our students/graduates are undertaking. We recommend a minimum of £8.21* for any role. Further information you may find useful can be found at Employment rights and pay for interns.

 *Correct rate for 25 and Over for financial year April 2019 – March 2020

Can I offer unpaid work experience?

All unpaid opportunities which do not form a contract of employment or a worker relationship (and are not part of a placement year as part of a course) are exempt from NMW.

 This includes:

  • Work experience/work shadowing
  • Volunteering opportunities with a charity, voluntary organisation, associated fund raising body or a statutory body

These opportunities will only be advertised if they are no longer than 20 working days within a 10 week period on a part-time basis or no longer than 4 weeks on a full-time basis.

Further information you may find useful can be found at Employment rights and pay for interns.

Working from home & remote working

Whilst students are not actively encouraged to work from home, there are aspects of work that may be suitable to be undertaken from home and which enable them to gain beneficial experience such as project work with an organisation with which they may not otherwise be able to work.

A good example would be an opportunity which will enable students to undertake assessment of data from a remote location. The student would work from their own home to assess the information, and in turn produce a report.

There are a number of issues which must be considered when students are required to work from home. These include:

Trust – if payment is involved, employers have to be confident that students are working the number of hours for which they are being paid; conversely, students need to be confident that they are able to complete the work in the time for which they are being paid and that there won’t be pressure upon them to work longer hours on an unpaid basis to complete an unrealistic volume of work

Health and safety – if a student is working on a contractual basis with an organisation, that organisation has a commitment to the student to ensure that health and safety requirements are being adhered to. For example, if an employer provides a student with any apparatus to use at home, sufficient checks should be conducted to ensure that the student’s health or safety is not compromised

Insurance - when working for an employer, their liability insurance will normally cover an employee in the event of accident whilst working on-site, or if injuries or death result from work-related activities. However, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that their employer has sufficient insurance cover in place to protect the student when working from home, if there is a chance that they may incur injury or worse in the line of duty not sure about the last bit of this sentence – there is always “a chance” i.e you can never rule out risk and not sure about “in the line of duty”, perhaps end with “when working from home”

The gov.uk website provides general guidance to both employers and employees regarding working Flexible Working.

Please note that we are unable to promote any opportunities that require our students/graduates to work in a private residential address.

Resources - job descriptions, assessments and induction

SME Guide to Graduate Recruitment and Development by Gradconsult

  • How to find the best graduates
  • Selecting the best person for your business
  • Creating a development plan
  • Sample induction week timetable

Recruitment: an introduction by CIPD

  • Defining the role
  • Attracting applicants
  • Managing the application and selection process
  • Making the appointment

Our team is experienced in helping you prepare the best and most relevant job descriptions for your opportunities. If you are unsure how best to present a job description or advertisement we are here to assist in the phrasing, content and style of these to ensure they appear most attractive to our students.