Placements and internships

A placement involves a student undertaking work experience in industry, usually as part of their course. This generally applies to undergraduates and can last from a few weeks to a year. Placements have specific aims and objectives with regard to what a student will learn and gain from the placement.

An internship is a short-term paid work placement available to graduates. Internships tend to be project-led and include an element of graduate development.

Why do a placement or internship

Doing a placement will enhance your career prospects by giving to you opportunity to:

  • extend skills that you already have and to develop new ones
  • build your confidence
  • gain knowledge of the professional and economic environment
  • apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world situations
  • develop specific vocational and personal skills
  • make contacts in your chosen industry
  • gain transferable work experience and skills such as communication and team working
  • earn a salary.

Doing a placement as part of your course

The University of Brighton is career-focused, and many of our courses include a work placement.

Sandwich placements are year-long placements which are typically undertaken during the third year of a four-year course.  This year is spent in an organisation where the work you do is related to your degree.

Industrial placements are similar to sandwich placements but can last for less than a year. They are usually accredited as part of your course or are a compulsory part of a vocational degree.

Placements teams at the University of Brighton

A number of courses at the University of Brighton include placements in their curriculum. Your course placement team will help find you a placement.

Internships via the university

The university advertises paid internships both through our own scheme and the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme. Find out more and view current vacancies at our page on paid internships.

Find your own placement or internship

Graduate scheme employers

Many graduate employers that have a graduate training scheme will also have placement opportunities, either for 12 months or over the summer.

Pick up copies of the Prospects and GET Directories (available from careers centres) for details of graduate schemes offered by major employers across the whole range of industry.

Approaching employers directly

If you are looking to get a placement in a very competitive sector, such as the media, you may have to approach them directly. This is known as making a speculative application.

Making a speculative application involves approaching an organisation about the possibility of working for them. It is an unsolicited application rather than a response to an advertised vacancy.

Read our advice on making speculative applications.

Online resources 

  • Cogent Life Sciences Placements Service
    12 month and shorter industrial placement opportunities.
  • Eternships
    Connecting students and graduates with small businesses and start ups.
  • Europlacement
    International internships, placements and graduation assignments. Most are unpaid.
  • Fledglings.net
  • Fulbright Commission
    Short-term, unpaid internships for current students or those interested in gaining experience in international education, and when projects allow, marketing, events and communication.
  • Go Wales
    Graduate Opportunities Wales work placement programme is for students studying outside of Wales who want to come back during the summer or relocate once they graduate.
  • Graduate Talent Pool
    Government scheme to encourage graduate employment. 
  • Inspiring Interns
    Internship opportunities which offer reimbursed expenses as a minimum and often more.
  • Intern China
    Aims to create opportunities for people to gain an insight into the Chinese working environment.
  • iinternship.com
    International internships, (work) placements and graduation assignments.
  • Internavenue
    Opportunities for undergraduates and graduates. Internavenue exclusively advertised paid positions.
  • Internjobs
  • Interntown
    International internships for up to 12 months in companies worldwide.
  • Internwise
    Internship opportunities, primarily in the Greater London area.
  • Rate My Placement
    A database of peer-reviewed work experience opportunities.
  • Santander Universities SME Internship Programme
    Available to graduates of the University of Brighton and other partner institutions.
  • STEP Programme
    Offering industrial placements, graduate internships and summer placements for undergraduates.
  • Top Internships
    Information on undergraduate internships and placements in the UK.
  • UK Home Office/Border Agency Register of Tier 2/5 Sponsors
    A comprehensive listing of sponsors. It would be worthwhile targeting these employers as placement providers if you wish to work in the UK after graduation.
  • We connect students
    Register your CV and access internship opportunities, graduate jobs and a wide range of careers advice and discussion topics.
  • Wired Sussex Intern Placement Programme
    The scheme offers financially-supported placements to those looking for creative, digital and IT roles across the South East. All placements are for six weeks and pay the Living Wage.
  • Work placement fairs
    The perfect way to meet potential placement employers and for you to see what placement opportunities are out there. These fairs normally take place in October/November. 
  • Year in Industry
    Offers a year out in industry within the UK, with a minimum salary of £150 per week. Most jobs are in engineering, science and computing, but there are also opportunities in business and other non-technical fields.

Internships - know your rights

It is a sad fact that in certain industries unpaid internships are still the norm. However the legal debate around this is ongoing. See our page on Your rights in the workplace for more information on the current situation and latest developments.

“Doing a placement year is such a great springboard opportunity.  It provided me with a wealth of knowledge about the IT industry”

Jo, Business Information Systems graduate

Getting ahead

It is not uncommon for graduates to find full-time employment with the company where they do their placement. According to The Graduate Market in 2012 (pdf) report from High Fliers Research, at least half the graduate vacancies advertised in 2012 by leading graduate employers are likely to be filled by graduates who have undertaken work experience with that employer.

Further information

Funding for placements abroad

Leonardo Da Vinci is a well-established programme supporting students doing placements abroad.  Students interested in a placement abroad should first find a placement and then apply to Leonardo for funding.

The Leonardo grant covers international travel, language course, insurance, accommodation and a living allowance.