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
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Trainee Digital Forensic Analyst

£17000 - £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Trainee Digital Fo...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Technical Support Analyst

£23000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cuu...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home