Getting a taste for work: Internships at the University of Edinburgh

EDINBURGH SCENES FOR UNIVERSITY 2014.Getting an internship is high on the agenda for students looking for quality work experience before they graduate. The majority of graduate recruiters view work experience as essential for students when applying for a graduate job.  Students can gain work experience through part time work, work shadowing, course projects or society involvement. So what makes an internship different?

What is an internship?

An internship is a taster of graduate level work and is a period of structured work experience that lasts for a fixed period. It should enhance a student’s career and personal development. A student will often be offered training and will work on a specific area of work or be assigned a project to work on. Most importantly, integrated into the internship programme are tools that encourage reflection and record the experience.

Who are internships for?

Traditionally internships have been designed for undergraduates, increasingly though there is a demand from postgraduate students for internships that allow them to balance their academic commitments with gaining valuable work experience. We recommend that these internships are for no longer than 6 hours per week.

Internships are particularly effective as a first step in engaging small and medium sized organisations with the University. Closer relationships with external partners are built, with large numbers of student interns acting as ambassadors for the university.

Actively supporting students in improving their employability through internships, whether on or off campus, really enhances the student experience by giving students ownership of their personal development – making them ready for the work place.

How can you support internships?

  • Encourage organisations to offer internships and refer them to the Careers Service.
  • Recommend the Careers Service to offer advice about internship best practice.
  • Provide funding to ensure fair access to internships for all students, similar to other university models.
  • Participate in our on campus internship programmes, particularly throughout the year for PhD students.
  • Encourage students to apply for internships.

In addition to internships, there are other opportunities which the Careers Service can help facilitate, e.g. part-time work, work-shadowing, work-based projects. Please contact us if you are working with organisations who would like to know more about these options.

Contact details:

For internships: Internships Team, or 0131 651 5114

For other employer related enquiries: or 0131 650 6688

Eilidh Steele

Eilidh Steele is on secondment as the Internships Manager from her regular job as the Recruitment Coordinator at the Careers Service. She has worked in Careers and Employability for the last 10 years and is passionate about student work experience and internships.

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