Careers Service

Internships

About

Internships provide an opportunity to gain graduate level work experience, typically during the summer vacation or during term-time.

Many large companies target their internships at undergraduate students in their second, or penultimate, year of study. About a third of their graduate positions are filled by students who have completed an internship or placement year with them. Some internships are also open to graduates.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) also offer internships, although these are not always advertised.

The Careers Service organises a range of internships, both on campus and with SMEs in the North East. These are available during term-time and in the summer.

Benefits of doing an internship

Internships can help you to:

  • gain hands-on experience and develop industry knowledge, providing useful evidence for your skills and motivation when you apply for graduate jobs
  • decide where your future career interests lie
  • gain an insight into UK business culture
  • make contacts within the sector; some students secure graduate jobs with their internship provider 
  • gain positive feedback and references, useful for future applications

Many internships are paid or provide a bursary; the Careers Service doesn’t advertise unpaid internships. You can find advice on our website about funding for unpaid work experience.

When to apply

Applications for large companies start to open in September, the year before the internship will take place. They start to close between November and February. This is usually to allow for quite a lengthy application process.

Internships organised by the Careers Service will be advertised throughout the academic year, with term-time internships advertised from October and summer internships from March.

Some companies recruit all year round, particularly SMEs, but it is best to start looking as early as possible.

See Finding internships to search for opportunities.

CVs, applications and LinkedIn profiles provides useful advice on how to write an effective CV, covering letter and application form.

Further information

Events to look out for

Recruitment fairs are not just for graduate jobs. Most employers at our events also offer internships, so go along and find out more about their opportunities.

At our employer presentations, you can hear about their internship schemes, build your network and ask questions. They usually take place at lunchtime or after 17.00.

We also list external events that are held off campus. These can include opportunities to find out about work experience.

Guides and advice

The following resources include advice, case studies and employer profiles:

Finding Internships

The two most common ways of finding internships are applying for advertised opportunities, and seeking out hidden ones by networking and applying speculatively.

The Careers Service advertises internships on Vacancies Online. You can search for internships during vacations or term-time and log-in to sign up for personalised email alerts.

You can also use the following external websites to help you find an internship:

Speculative applications

Speculative applications

Not all internships are advertised. In fact, many people create opportunities through networking and making contacts, or by developing their own business ideas.

If you have identified a company you would like to work for, you could try approaching them directly about possible opportunities. Send them a tailored CV and covering letter, expressing your enthusiasm for the sector and showing that you have researched the company.

Where possible, identify a contact name to address your covering letter to. Call or email to find out who is responsible for recruitment within the organisation or a key contact in the department you want to work in.

It’s useful to follow up a speculative application with a phone call a few days afterwards to show you are serious and motivated.

TARGETjobs have a useful guide about making a speculative application to find hidden internships.

Finding companies

  • North East Graduate Directory – database of local organisations who offer work experience or accept speculative applications
  • Researching employers – contains sources of company profiles and a list of business directories and databases
  • Occupations – find employer directories for specific sectors
  • LinkedIn – an online networking tool allowing users to connect with professionals across all industries 
  • LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations Newcastle graduates are working in

Other ways to find internships

Other ways to find internships

Academic schools sometimes offer internships, for example through research scholarships. There are also opportunities through externally-funded vacation studentship schemes. Ask your school if they run similar schemes or have contacts you could approach.

The Business School offer global experience internships as part of their Global Experience Opportunity programme. They also advertise internships and placements on their Student Experience Blog.

Some student competitions, such as TARGETjobs’ Undergraduate of the Year, offer a paid internship as a prize.