Why internships and placements are a popular route to employment

 

Lancaster University Management School

Previously, students looking for part-time work or summer jobs were advised to take any type of role because, at that time, all work experience was considered valuable, and it was viewed as an indication that the student had drive, enthusiasm and a willingness to get on and work.

But those days are over. Career and graduate recruitment experts are now recommending that students build up a portfolio of relevant work experience as early as possible – before they arrive at university, if they get the opportunity.

Students shouldn't be dissuaded from undertaking part-time jobs or underestimate the valuable employability skills that they will undoubtedly gain from them, but should be warned that, when they graduate, that experience alone will probably not be enough to get a job. Many employers will require what they term "relevant work experience" gained either through a suitable placement or internships.

Prospective students therefore need to work out what industry sectors and job roles they might be interested in sooner, rather than later, and then focus on gaining work experience in these areas.

Many universities and business schools are offering programmes with built-in placements and internships. These are proving increasingly popular. Applications for four-year degree programmes at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), which include an industrial placement, have been soaring and many more students are enquiring about the opportunities for internships.

The latest High Fliers Research into the Graduate Market 2012 reveals that a third of this year's entry-level positions will be filled by graduates who have already worked for the organisation during an internship or placement. This is borne out by evidence from companies such as Centrica whose 10-week summer internship scheme for predominantly penultimate year students has grown from 11 places in 2006 to 75 in 2010. Last year, Centrica filled 38 per cent of their graduate intake from this internship pool. The figure rockets in industries such as investment banking, where as many as 80 per cent of positions are filled by those who have undertaken an internship or placement with the company.

In his recent review into collaboration between business and universities, Sir Tim Wilson recommended internships and work placements as the way for students to improve their employability. His research revealed that students who either completed sandwich courses or had the experience of an internship were more employable after graduation. Wilson said: "I think we're beginning to see internships being used as part of an extended interview process. The evidence that a placement year improves employability opportunities is strong while a lack of work experience appears as a key barrier."

LUMS students go out into industry placements on their third year, but we work with them from year one to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to win a placement. There are no guarantees. They take a 15-hour development programme culminating in an assessment centre and mock interview before even starting to apply for a placement at the end of their first year.

The Office for National Statistics report in graduate recruitment shows the vast increase in the size of the graduate population, an increase of more than 430,000 graduates in the past 10 years from 1,063,000 in 2001 to 1,501,000 in 2011, which means a much more competitive jobs market for graduates than in the past.

Differentiation is therefore the key. It is vital that a student (or prospective student) does everything they can to make themselves stand out from the crowd. For higher education careers services, it also means finding a balance between supporting those on placements, and helping those without such valuable work experience, to secure a graduate position.

 

Louise Briggs, head of careers, alumni and employer relations, and Rory Daly, undergraduate placement officer, Lancaster University Management School

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is returning all donations made by Redditors 'in honour' of Jennifer Lawrence and her naked photos
news

Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak

News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
advertising
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Maths Teacher/NQT/Tutor

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are looking for Teach...

Primary Year 5 Teacher - Lambeth - September 2014

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates based on experience: Randstad E...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: "Where teaching is e...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York