Today's students don’t just need to excel at their studies. They need professional experience too. Can you give a student the extra edge they need to thrive in the job market?
Bristol students not only have excellent academic credentials, they also have so much to offer the workplace – talent, ideas and ambition.
And in today's tough job market, demand for work experience and internship opportunities is higher than ever.
If you're able to offer a student the chance to develop their professional skills through an internship, there are a number of different programmes you can support:
Opportunities for students across all disciplines can be advertised through the University Careers Service, who can help you recruit the right candidate, and raise the profile of your organisation within the University.
"I was approached by a start-up company, Car Throttle, who liked the concept behind a web-based business I set up a couple of years ago. They wanted to integrate my business into their own, and employ me full-time as a social media manager. However, they were still in an investment phase so couldn’t fund the position straight away. Thanks to the Bristol Internship Scheme, I was able to work for them over the summer holidays.
"Joining such a small company meant I had real responsibility straight away. I wasn’t making coffee and doing paperwork – I was meeting with clients and working directly with the CEO. I was involved in brainstorming new ideas, and had an overview of what was happening across the whole company.
"In the last year, the company has doubled in size and they’ve recently offered me a role as Head of Marketing when I graduate. I can’t wait to start.
"Working for a start-up is a risk but it’s the quickest way to climb the ladder. You have so much involvement, and can make a real difference to the future of a company."
"I started working for international development charity, Deki, last February. I was looking for paid work to support my studies, but the other jobs I’d seen – babysitting and promotional work – just wouldn’t have added anything to my CV. I knew I wanted to go into fundraising after my Masters, but it’s really difficult to get paid work experience in the voluntary sector.
"The role at Deki, funded by the University of Bristol Internship Scheme, was perfect. I might have considered applying even if it hadn’t been paid – but I definitely wouldn’t have been able to support myself for the full length of my placement, so wouldn’t have gained as much experience. I learnt a lot of skills specific to fundraising, as well as general office skills, like working with spreadsheets and talking on the phone.
"The University were really helpful. They took care of the legalities and contracts – things I really knew nothing about - and were always on hand with advice and support. Thankfully, my internship went really smoothly, but I also knew help was there if I needed it.
"Working for a charity also opened my eyes to the different roles within the sector – roles that I wouldn’t know about otherwise. And because the position was a new venture for Deki, it meant there was a certain degree of flexibility on both sides – I was able get as much out of the role as I wanted to.
"Since finishing my internship, Deki has offered me a part-time role – two days a week while I finish my Masters. I’m actually studying international development, so it’s the perfect fit. I’m already thinking about how to use my experience to help with my dissertation.
"You can spend three years at University without experiencing life in the outside world, but it’s really important to break out of that bubble. My experience at Deki is going to be absolutely key to my CV. Everything I’ve learnt is transferrable and, perhaps most importantly, has given me the confidence to apply for full-time jobs, knowing I’ll be able to hit the ground running."
"I’ve been working at One25, a local charity that reaches out to women trapped in street sex work, for the last three months. The role was advertised through the University of Bristol Internship Scheme. It included a detailed job description, and information about what development opportunities One25 would be able to offer.
"Knowing I would be paid made a huge difference to my decision to take up an internship. I’m not sure I would have been able to support myself otherwise – so wouldn’t have been able to take that vital first step into the voluntary sector.
"I’m part of a very small team at One25 – there are just three other fundraisers – so I’ve been involved in a lot of different projects. I’ve helped plan fundraising events, co-ordinated newsletters, and learnt about social media marketing. I’ve also attended strategy meetings, where I’ve gained insight into how charities plan and budget for the year ahead. The team have been great at listening to my ideas, and I feel my contribution is really valued.
"All my learning objectives were laid out at the very beginning of my placement, so it’s easy to look back and see what I’ve learnt. I meet with my manager regularly to review my progress and talk about what I want to achieve – it’s so important to have that structure and support.
I studied Law at Bristol, and have been able to apply my academic skills to the workplace, for example, when working with policy and government documents.
"Everything I’ve learnt at One25 is really practical, and transferable to any workplace, even outside the voluntary sector. Now I’m applying for full-time jobs, I can demonstrate a range of desirable skills, and draw on practical examples. I’d feel really lost in today’s job market without this experience."