Durham University Internships
Internships are short, structured, paid periods of work with an organisation for a fixed time, usually during a vacation.
Internships are traditionally aimed at penultimate year students, but many employers are now opening opportunities to first year students too. Typically, the employer identifies a project similar to the type of work you would carry out if you joined as a graduate trainee. Make sure that you check for early closing dates, which may be anytime from Michaelmas term onwards.
Internships are available in a broad range of sectors and offer the student a structured experience often with graduate levels of responsibility. As well as sectors such as law, banking and finance, professional services, pharmaceuticals, engineering and IT that are traditionally known to offer internships, there are also some opportunities available in both the public and not for profit sectors; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Cancer Research are examples of organisations with established internship schemes.
Competition for internships is intense and so it is important to dedicate time and effort to your application. There are often as many, if not more, applicants for an internship as for a graduate role. Students are advised to keep this in mind and put as much effort into the application, for example researching the organisation and perfecting your CV, as you would for your ideal graduate role.
Appointments are available with the Placement Officer to support students applying for work experience opportunities. Book a ‘Work Experience Applications’ appointment via the Student Services Portal.
Where to find internships
Internships are usually structured and so take place during vacation time, usually summer but sometimes at Easter or Christmas. Organisations nearly always advertise their opportunities on their websites; however it might be worth making a speculative application, particularly to a smaller company. Opportunities are also advertised on our Careers database.
Explore: Work Experience
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre (CEEC) run a programme of bespoke work experience opportunities, specifically designed and tailored for Durham University students (some may also be open to recent graduates).
The Exploreprogrammesare a great way to gain valuable and highly sought after work experience. There are a variety of part-time term-time and vacation opportunities, with high quality employers; designed to offer you an important insight into your career area, whilst helping to develop your employability skills.
For more information contact the Placement Officer.
The following Explore: Work Experience programmes ran during the 2015-2016 academic year:
Explore: Arts & Heritage – a programme designed to offer high quality work experience opportunities to students interested in pursuing a career in the arts; within museums, media, galleries and conservation trusts
Explore: Public Sector – a programme designed to offer high quality work experience opportunities to students interested in pursuing a career in the public sector
Explore: Third Sector – a programme designed for students keen to discover what it is like to work, or to further their experience of working within charities and voluntary organisations.
Opportunities for First Years
Although structured opportunities for first year students are limited it is important to think about work experience early. The good news is that an increasing number of employers are targeting first year students as part of their graduate recruitment strategy. The opportunities that are available to students are typically much shorter than the summer internships and provide an opportunity to gain an insight into a particular employer and sector. The finance and legal sectors account for the majority of structured first year work experience opportunities but other sectors are beginning to provide similar opportunities. There are different types of opportunities available to first year students but typically they all require a formal application at an early stage during your first year of study.
For details of Insight opportunities available, including deadlines, please see the document(s) below.
- Spring Weeks & Insight Days for First Years (last modified: 4 October 2016)
- Insight Programmes: Application Details and Deadlines (last modified: 11 October 2016)