Full Guide To UK Internships

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Hagar Samir

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26 March, 2023

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9 mins read

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University Life

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Securing an internship gives you an edge after graduation and an opportunity to explore so many different things! When applying for jobs in the future, you will find yourself searching for a broader range of jobs with an internship than without one. An internship can also make you more experienced, improve your problem-solving skills, and provide you with other benefits, like being exposed to a new culture, especially when you’re an international student!

In addition to the amazing experience internships give you, they also help you discover more about your field and career path. You have the chance to explore and learn more without having to make this internship your permanent job! Of course, your resume will stand out because of the internship, but you will also learn about yourself and your abilities while facing some hardships that will help you in the future! 

So, can international students apply for internships in the United Kingdom? The answer is yes! If you’re an international student, you can do internships in the United Kingdom; however, the problem you might face is that these internships might be competitive. It’s certainly not impossible, but it requires a lot of work; think of it as if you’re trying to get into the United Kingdom’s top university!

Full Guide to UK Internships 

We know there are many steps to be taken and so much information! That’s why it’s important for us to gather all the information and steps in one place for you to benefit from and use when the time comes! So, let’s take this step by step!

 UK Internships

Why Are Internships Important?

All universities in the United Kingdom know the importance of an internship and its various benefits and opportunities! Some universities even offer part-time job schedules for students in order to balance the internship and their academic life! So, why go through all of that for an internship? And what are the benefits of internships?

1. Gaining Experience 

Not only do you learn a lot about your profession, but you also gain experience that you can add to your CV! You can also use this internship to back your ideas up while working, as you have already gone through something similar. Also, adding an internship to your portfolio will immediately make you a strong candidate and competitor for whatever you apply for!

2. Helping You Choose a Field

A huge part of the reason why internships are important is to be able to try something before doing it full-time. Think of it as a free trial; you won’t have to continue if you don’t like it or don’t find yourself fitting in there. Being able to do that before graduation gives you a chance to switch multiple times before you decide on a specific job! 

3. Increasing Your Source of Income 

If your reasoning behind an internship is not experience but money, that is also totally okay! A lot of people prefer to get an internship for extra income while studying abroad. You have to be careful, though, because not all internships are paid! It’s important to do your research beforehand in order to find something that you like and are comfortable with, and that will also pay you the amount you want! 

4. More Job Opportunities 

Say you earned an internship somewhere, really liked the place and the work environment, and decided that this is where you want to work in the future full-time; how can an internship help you? An internship is usually a way to get a full-time job at the same company. Managers sometimes notice how valuable students are working there and offer them full-time jobs once they graduate. 

internship in the United Kingdom

How long do internships last in the United Kingdom?

An internship in the United Kingdom varies according to the company, your field, and whether you’re an undergraduate or a graduate. Generally, internships last anywhere from a couple of weeks to almost a year. 

This flexibility is one of the benefits of internships. It is good for you because you can choose an internship that suits your schedule and not the other way around! It is also suitable if you have a budget or want to do more. Regardless of its length, it is a huge booster. 

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How can you find an internship in the United Kingdom?

There are several ways you can find internships in the United Kingdom! This diversity is also one of the benefits of internships; there are no fixed rules or steps for you to follow in order to find good internship opportunities. 

1. Internship sites in the United Kingdom

These websites gather all the information and internships in one place for you. Some of these websites in the United Kingdom are:

  • TARGET Jobs: just like Facebook, this website has threads about available job openings, online workshops, and discussions. 

  • Milkround: it’s suitable for first-timers; it comes with CV templates, cover letters, and job applications!

  • Student Circus: this website is mainly for students with a Tier 4 Visa.

  • E4S: you can find full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and many short summer internships.    

2. Company Websites

Nowadays, most companies have their own website that students can use to find internships and either apply or contact the company for more information. 

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to find good internships that are suitable for you! You can always keep tabs on LinkedIn pages and groups that post frequent updates on any available internships. 

4. The United Kingdom’s Placement Cells

It’s well-known that universities in the United Kingdom are very advanced and helpful! Most universities now have placements cells which offer internships in the United Kingdom. They are also useful because they help you with resources and documents you need to be aware of!

Are there any paid internships in the United Kingdom for international students?

Paid internships are available in many fields in the United Kingdom for international students! While finding them may be a little difficult, it is also very rewarding! One of the benefits of internships is how much they pay. Paid internships are found in many fields, including communications, marketing, economics, business, and technology. 

Many students find paid internships important because they need to pay for visas, flights, programme costs, and accommodation. This is why student marketplaces like Casita are convenient, as it offers student accommodation in 60+ countries with all the amenities and features you will need!

What kind of visa do students need for an internship in the United Kingdom?

A certificate of sponsorship and a visa are both needed if you want to work or intern abroad. For international students, the best and most suitable UK internship visa is a temporary work visa! This type of visa is valid for up to two years. It can also last for the duration given on your certificate of sponsorship, in addition to the 28 extra days. 

You can apply up to three months before your first day of work in the United Kingdom, and it’s advised that you apply even earlier if possible! Another important tip is that while you’re applying for internships, search for ones that can help and assist you with your visa. A temporary visa costs around £260, and you must be sure you are eligible and have met all the requirements before applying!

 UK internships

Universities in the United Kingdom that offer internships 

There are several universities in the United Kingdom that offer internships for students, both local and international! The aim is to give them experience and help them understand the work environment. These universities include:

 requirements for internships in the United Kingdom

What are the entry requirements for internships in the United Kingdom?

The requirements vary from one city to the other and also from one company to the other! Most of the time, you will need to have a Tier 5 GAE visa to be able to work legally in the United Kingdom. A Tier 5 visa is the temporary work visa mentioned above for people who want to come to the UK for a short time. In order to apply for that visa, you’ll need certain things, including:

  • A sponsor

  • A placement offer for a paid or unpaid internship sent to you from a United Kingdom company beforehand

  • Meeting the eligibility criteria 

The steps needed to get an internship in the United Kingdom

It’s always advised to start the search early! This will give you the opportunity to choose freely and have the time to look at the programmes and choose what’s suitable for you!

Decide on a specific focus

First of all, you will need to choose a focus based on your career goals, and it’s usually the same profession you’re studying at university. For example, if you’re in marketing school and really love social media, then you probably need to search for marketing internship opportunities!

However, there is also the possibility that you like to try new things and want to widen your knowledge! Trying something new is always a good idea for those who want to work in different fields or haven’t decided what they want to do with their life!

Choose when you want to go 

The United Kingdom is known for its very cold weather; a lot of people choose wintertime just to walk around the streets of London during holidays or visit Edinburgh on a snowy day! You have to know the weather conditions before deciding your destination in order to avoid any unexpected events! 

Of course, summer is also a great time to visit the United Kingdom! Brighton Beach is always available for you to visit, as is the English countryside! Yes, you can try to tailor the schedule to match your preferences; however, there is also a possibility that the timing of your internship will depend on the availability of internships, so don’t let that discourage you!

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Apply for a programme

Now; you can start applying for a programme based on your preferences, needs, budget, and criteria! You will need to know if the programme offers help getting an internship, a sponsorship certificate, help with your visa application, and on-site support. 

Don’t just go for the first option you see! Compare different internships and see which benefits suit you more. The benefits of internships are various and will differ from one company to the other. Also, programme reviews from alumni are a good place to get insight and tips before you apply! 

Apply for a visa

If the programme you chose does not offer visa assistance, you’ll want to start applying for one as early as possible to avoid any problems. Make sure you are eligible for a visa and book the appointments you may need to get supporting documentation to fasten the process! 

Prepare yourself for the internship

You’re now accepted and ready to go, but you still need to know if your internship and programme provider offer pre-departure materials to help you prepare for your internship in the United Kingdom! You will also need to read about the country and its culture. 

In addition, research the company or organisation you’ll be working for beforehand in order to be as prepared as possible. It’s also important to make sure that you have your flight, accommodation, and general logistics secured. 

Now that you have all the information you need, you’re all set! Internships are important for many reasons, and it’s an experience you will never forget! Whether you want to work for the same company later on or you just want the experience to add to your portfolio, an internship is a great way to build relationships and connections! 

You also get to travel, see the world, try new things, and visit new places! Travelling is always a wonderful experience, and it changes how you view the world forever! Don’t be afraid to try new things and apply for internships, and we hope you now know everything you need to know about internships in the United Kingdom! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which visa do I need to apply for to get an internship in the UK?

If you’re an international student, a Tier 5 Visa is the way to go! It is also called a "temporary work visa" that will allow you to work in the United Kingdom. 

2. Can foreigners do internships in the UK?

Yes! International students are encouraged to apply for both paid and unpaid internships all the time! Though it may not be the easiest, it’s very much possible to get one!

3. Can I intern in the UK without a visa?

If you’re an international student, then no. A Tier 5, a temporary worker-government-authorised exchange visa (T5), is required. 

4. Are all internships in the UK paid?

While there are a lot of great paid internship opportunities in the United Kingdom, there are also a variety of unpaid internships. However, these unpaid internships offer different benefits, including reasonable travel or lunch expenses. 

5. Do I need sponsorship to be an intern in the UK?

Yes, you need to be sponsored. You need to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licenced employer before you come to the United Kingdom. 


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