Why undertake work experience?
Work experience is a very useful way of gaining relevant, professional experience and knowledge of a particular industry, as well as potential references. It can be referred to as an internship or placement, and can greatly improve your employability.
Graduate recruiters often use internship or placement schemes as a means of assessing potential candidates for employment after graduation. Most large organisations and some smaller ones run placement schemes for students. These can vary in length from two-three weeks, a vacation period or up to a year and can be part-time or full-time. Some internship or placement programmes are more structured and formal, while others can be more flexible.
Other benefits of internships and placement programmes include:
- Trying out a particular job role and exploring career options
- Making industry contacts and building your network
- Developing transferrable skills such as team work, communication and organisation
- Putting your theoretical knowledge into practice
- Potentially gaining paid work experience
- Obtaining points for the Employability Award
- Increasing your knowledge of the application and recruitment process.
Where can I find work experience opportunities?
There are a variety of ways that you can find a work placement or internship. Most formal internship programmes at large or medium-sized employers will be advertised online. However, for smaller organisations don’t underestimate the benefit of word of mouth. If you identify a company you’d like to work for, get in touch and find out if they could offer you some experience.
Sources of placements are listed below.
All placement opportunities are published on Engage, including information outlining what to expect and offers tips and advice on accessing the available support from the work placement team. You can also access our ‘Your Course, What Next?’ pages, with useful links to industry specific job sites and professional bodies.
Placement and graduate job websites
These include sites such as:
You may also find opportunities on non-placement specific websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn. These sites can be especially useful outside of the usual recruitment cycles.
It is widely accepted that not all vacancies are openly advertised. The ‘hidden’ jobs market can be a great source of internship opportunities and graduates often find jobs through speculative applications.
Networking and employer events
Find more about Networking and employer events on Engage.
How can the Careers and Employability Service help you?
The Careers and Employability Service advertises a variety of opportunities on Engage. There is also a dedicated Work Experience and Placement Team within each College of the University. They can help you to find suitable work experience as well as support you in making applications, with your CVs and interview technique. You may book an appointment to see them via Engage or contact the teams using their details below. The teams may also offer drop-in sessions or workshops through the year.
Careers and Employability Service contacts
Westminster Business School Work Experience and Placement Team (Business Experience Team)
Schools: Applied Management, Finance and Management, Management and Marketing, Organisations, Economy and Society
+ 44 (0)20 3506 7179
35 Marylebone Road
London NW1 5LS
College of Design, Creative and Digital Industries Work Experience and Placement Team
Schools: Arts, Media and Communications, Architecture and Cities, Computer Science and Engineering
+44 (0)20 3506 8203
Room AG.24, Maria Hewlett Building
Harrow Campus, Watford Road
Middlesex HA1 3TP
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Work Experience and Placement Team
Schools: Law, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities
+ 44 (0)20 3506 6405
Employability Hub – Cavendish Campus
115 New Cavendish Street
London W1W 6UW
Other ways to gain professional experience
Work experience programmes and modules are not the only way to gain professional experience. The Careers and Employability Service offers a wide variety of ways to explore the workplace and expand your skills:
- Creative Enterprise Centre - an enterprise and entrepreneurship hub to support students and graduates to develop their enterprise competencies and kick-start their entrepreneurial experiences.
- Explore Teaching - an exciting opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a school classroom
- Westminster Working Cultures London – a year long employability programme, offering exposure to a variety of industries, through Insight Days, mentoring and careers consultation.
Student Mobility Team
At the University of Westminster, we are keen to enhance the opportunities for international experience available to our students in order to help them develop a global outlook and global skills.
The Student Mobility Team is available to support and advise students on different overseas opportunities. Some of the international activities we promote are:
- Exchange programmes
- Summer schools
- Work experience and placements
- Field trips
To contact the Student Mobility Team, please send an email to: [email protected]
Visit our Working and studying abroad page for further information.