We get a lot of questions about work experience from first year students. Often because an initial search of internships shows a lot of employers don't offer internships to first year students. This is because most employers use internships as a pipeline to graduate employment. So they target students toward the end of their degree who can enter into a graduate job in the next year.
However, all is not lost. Read on for our top tips on getting experience in your first year.
So after saying a lot of internships aren't open to first years - some are! So it is worth seeking them out.
Here are some top tips:
- On MyFuture, when we advertise internship opportunities we always specify which year groups can apply. So it is still worth having a quick browse to see if any are open to first years.
- If you are interested in STEM opportunities, then Gradcracker is a great job board site. The reason we highlight this specifically here is because their search filters include one specifically for opportunities open to first years. Go to Gradcracker
- QMUL have also gathered together information on firms that offer first year internships.
- Big internship schemes tend to get advertised pretty early, but do keep an eye out for internship opportunities closer to the summer. These may be from smaller businesses that are more open to different year groups.
Spring Insight weeks
Spring Insight Weeks or Days are a work experience opportunity that is often only open to first and second years (depending on the length of your course). They last from one to five days and happen, as the name would suggest, in the Spring. An Insight event is different to internships and not all sectors or employers will offer them. They are most common in the finance sector but other sectors offer them too. Giving you an overview of a particular employer or sector and networking opportunities before you commit to a full internships or placement. You might also get the opportunity to take part in some tasks to start building your experience. They can also give you an advantage for internship and placement schemes at the same firm.
We advertising Insight events on MyFuture. You can find more on Bright Network's page on first year experiences and thee4s Insight day page. Along with looking at the websites of any employers you are particularly interested in.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Easter Vacation period at Bath is different to most Universities. So many Spring Insight events will clash with teaching at Bath. It is your responsibility to check this and consider the impact of this on your studies. Sometimes there can be flexibility – you can check this with the employer before applying.
Making your own experience
You could also consider seeking out your own opportunities by contacting organisations directly. These might not end in a formal paid internship, but still may give you some useful information and contacts for the future.
- Find out more about networking with our resources. In particular, try out Bath Connection, which is a networking site for Bath students and alumni - alumni experts on the site are there because they are happy to chat. Find out more about Bath Connection.
- Try using library databases to find organisations you can target with speculative applications.
- Find out more about speculative applications.
Part-time work, extracurriculars and volunteering
Even if you aren't able to secure an internship, don't forget about the value of transferable skills you can develop through part-time work, extracurriculars and volunteering. These can all help you build valuable skills like teamwork, time management, leadership and much more. Employers do appreciate these skills and experiences! There are lots of ways you can explore this at the University. Check out our blog on Making the most of your first year to find out more.
This is a pretty new concept that was accelerated by the pandemic. But some companies are starting to offer virtual work experience opportunities. THe format is a bit like an online course but there are opportunities to do some practical projects too. Forage and Springpod are two of the big platforms offering these.
The Careers Service can support you with finding work experience or anything else careers-related. Explore appointments, events, resources and more on MyFuture. Or get in touch! You can email us via email@example.com or request a call back by leaving a message on 01225 386009.