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Careers employer guide to internships

Find out more about how internships work.

Internships provide students with a unique opportunity to try out a job or career and also build their skills, experience and professional network. Many employers use internships to attract new staff, bring new skills and a fresh perspective. They are also a way for employers to temporarily fill skills or workload gaps, identify future hires and secure a talent pipeline, and contribute to the professional development of the future workforce.

How they are promoted

At University of Bath, we welcome employers to promote internships opportunities as a complement or alternative to a formal Placement, or as a recruitment opportunity for recent graduates. Employers can recruit from any year group or subject; we just ask that opportunities are clear stipulating who you hope to hire in terms of year or discipline. All opportunities can be posted onto the UniHub portal. Please contact us if you don’t think you have log in.

How internships are different to placements

Placements are a year-long and students undertake these in their 3rd or penultimate year. Some courses mandate that they are undertaken, other courses make the opportunity available to students to develop their employability skills. Placements are coordinated by specialist teams within faculties. The placement is an assessed credit-bearing unit and is a formal part of the degree. Internships are undertaken by students and graduates on a less formal basis and not directly coordinated by the University. Typically, internships take place in the penultimate summer of a student’s course, or as a graduate. It is worth bearing in mind that students on a placement year are unlikely to be able the apply or undertake an internship during their penultimate summer. However, up to a third of students at Bath do not opt for a placement year and, should employers wish, there are also many opportunities to employ students from other year groups.

Are they paid?

Yes absolutely. We would expect a formal internship to be paid at least at National Minimum Wage. Many employers choose to pay more to ensure they attract the top talent. 

“ Paying interns is not only the correct approach where they have worker status, but it also helps to widen access to internships more generally and increase the pool of talent that employers can draw from. Paying interns will also help you to increase the loyalty and motivation of young people, which, in turn, helps improve the overall productivity of your business.” (CIPD)

How are they structured?

The employer should aim to get the best out of an intern. They are not on work experience, happy to make tea and complete basic administrative tasks. Employers should aim to give the intern a diverse, productive and responsible role and remit for the duration of the internship. You want to stretch and challenge them but also ensure you and your business get the very best out of the intern. They have a brand-new approach, perspective and skills set to bring to the organisation. The student or graduate will also expect a degree of mentorship and an appropriate ‘exit’ meeting too.

The CIPD have a link to an internship checklist for employers which is helpful

Further information

Contact us

Contact the Employer Engagement Team for more information on how we can support you.

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