Careers Service

Funding for Work Experience

Unpaid Work Experience

Find out about how the Careers Service can help with unpaid internships.

The Careers Service does not advertise unpaid internships, however, we know that some occupational areas, such as media and journalism, can be difficult to break into without first gaining experience on an unpaid basis. 

It's important though to understand your employment rights. Many unpaid internships out there are in fact illegal and should be paid.

If you do decide to take unpaid work experience, we can provide some financial help for eligible students through the Career Insights Bursary.

For certain sectors, such as science, there may be research scholarships available to help fund summer internships. Some graduate recruiters also offer competitions for paid work experience. See Sector-specific Information for more details.

Understand your rights

If you're considering working on an unpaid basis, then you may have questions about your employment or payment rights. Gov.uk sets out legislation, payment entitlement, and sources of further help.

The following websites give information about unpaid work experience:

Career Insights Bursary

The Career Insights Bursary provides financial support to help you explore your career options. It aims to help you gain experience and develop graduate skills, by providing funding for unpaid opportunities.

Eligible students can receive a bursary of up to £500 to help with costs related to undertaking unpaid experience such as accommodation or travel. Only activities which directly support the development of employability skills will be considered. 

The activity can't be part of your degree course, for academic credit or part of a Careers Service work experience scheme, such as our term-time internships. The activity should be within the UK. 

Retrospective applications will not be considered and this must be the first time you have completed the work experience; funding can't be allocated to repeat activities.

Email us if you’re not sure whether your work experience qualifies.

Eligibility criteria

You must be a current UK undergraduate Newcastle University student planning to undertake an unpaid career-related activity. Career Insights can take place during term time or vacations and must be completed within three months of graduation. Additional eligibility criteria apply for bursary applications of over £250. 

To qualify for a bursary of up to £500 you would normally need to meet at least one or more of these criteria:

  • have entered the University through the PARTNERS programme
  • have entered the University through the Raising Aspirations programme
  • receive an Opportunity Scholarship from Newcastle University 
  • receive a Promise Scholarship from Newcastle University 
  • receive a Care Leaver Bursary from Newcastle University
  • receive a Student Parent Bursary from Newcastle University
  • receive an Access Scholarship from Newcastle University
  • receive a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • receive another form of verifiable bursary through the University

You will also need to be completing work experience of a minimum of 35 hours per week for a minimum of 2 weeks to qualify for the full amount of bursary of £500. 

If you are not sure whether you are eligible, you may still apply. There is some limited funding available for those who do not directly meet the criteria. Each application will be considered on a case by case basis.

Students are only able to apply for one Career Insights Bursary per academic year.

How to apply

The Career Insights Bursary will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applications.

We consider all applications on an individual basis and the amount of funding awarded is at the discretion of the Bursary Panel. Let us know of any exceptional circumstances which may require larger amounts of funding.

It can take up to two weeks for us to process applications. If your insight takes place before a decision has been made, we can award payments retrospectively upon approval of your application.

1. Find and secure an eligible Career Insight with an organisation

You can find a range of opportunities on Internships, placements & shadowing and External Events.

If you need help with finding relevant work experience, visit the Careers Service to speak to an information adviser.

2. Complete the online application form

Your application form should clearly demonstrate how your career insight will enhance your understanding of career opportunities and develop your graduate skills.

You will also need to submit a signed copy of the Career Insights Bursary Agreement (PDF: 72KB) either by email or handing a copy in to the Careers Service Welcome Desk, together with confirmation of your Career Insight and proof of any expenses you will incur.

We will let you know if you have been successful within 14 working days.

3. Start your Career Insight

You will need to arrange adequate supervision and guidance for your Career Insight and ensure that your host organisation can provide health and safety provision, as well as public and employee liability insurance.

4. Reflect on your Career Insight

You will receive 50% of the bursary when you start your Career Insight.

To receive the remaining 50%, you will need to submit a 500 word reflective report demonstrating what you gained from your experience.

Find out more

For more information about the Career Insights Bursary, email us.

For help with finding relevant work experience, visit the Careers Service.