Work experience will give you the opportunity to get an overview of a certain field or company, generally by shadowing a professional and performing a few tasks. This will allow you to develop your knowledge and skills, gain insight into a certain role and/or sector and a valuable set of contacts for the future. Moreover, you’ll be able to clarify your career goals and potentially find a referee for future jobs applications.
To find a suitable work experience placement, speak with your careers adviser to see if they have contacts at local companies or contact the Human Resources Department at companies you’re interested in and explore the links below.
Transferrable skills table – here is a list of skills which are particularly appealing to employers and can help when you are looking for work experience.
Useful links for school and college students
Future Morph – free website giving information on careers in science, work experience, and more.
Nuffield research placements – work with a scientist over the summer holidays.
In2science – Lab placements for gifted A-level students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Step into the NHS – register for free to receive NHS work experience vacancies in your local area.
MRC summer studentships – offers A-level students and undergraduates work experience in a research lab
Useful links for undergraduates & graduates
Internships and placements
Internships are a great way to test the skills you learn over the course of your studies in a professional working environment. As well as showing that you have initiative, enthusiasm and a good work ethic to any potential employers in the future, internships are a great way to explore your career options and gain an insight into working in a particular role or company.
Placements provide similar benefits to internships but last up to a year and are often a part of a sandwich course at University.
As well as visiting the websites highlighted below, your university careers service should be able to provide you with more details of companies, Learned Societies and other organisations which offer internships and placements. For industrial placements you can also try contacting companies’ human resources or outreach departments directly. In the molecular bioscience sector, internship positions are open mainly to undergraduates and higher education graduates, but you can also find some for further education graduates.
Summer vacation studentships
If you are a second year undergraduate student on a three year undergraduate course (or a second or third year student on a four year course) you can apply for a Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship.
This popular scheme provides grants for stipends of £200 per week for 6 – 8 weeks, and up to £1,600 in total, to support an undergraduate student to carry out a summer lab placement.
Alternatively, you can see a list of similar studentships on offer, created by the Royal Society of Biology.
Royal Society of Biology – information on and examples of industrial and summer placements for bioscience students
TARGETjobs – work placements in different regions of the UK and abroad
milkround.com – graduate schemes, jobs, internships and placements, plus events