Basically an internship (in the UK) is a period of paid work experience usually full time. Often it is in summer so that you have several months to get a decent period of experience but some are shorter.
Lets look at what an internship is in more detail..
Lots of large recruiters offer an “internship” in the summer of your prefinal year so that they can attract talent to their organisation. They may select good interns to go onto their graduate scheme, or it may be a separate recruitment process.
Students do “internships” to help them choose which company they want to work for and what type of work they like. You can intern in one company but get a graduate job in a different company the experience is still valid.
There are also Student Experience Internships and Q Step opportunities – which can be at a variety of organisations including here at The University. These opportunities are purely for you to enhance your skills and improve your employability.
BUT NO you don’t have to have something called an internship on your CV to get a graduate job.
Not all work experience is called an internship. Working in a company for 3 months over the summer is just as valid no matter what it is called. It’s about the nature of the work and the skills you gain not what it’s called.
Working as a volunteer for a charity is also a great source of work experience especially if you need to show evidence of working in the not for profit sector for a future career.
Student societies and extracurricular activities are actually one of the few ways to develop leadership or management experience. You can often show real tangible outcomes too as it’s all your own work.
There are so may other options for getting great experience, so don’t get stuck on the word internship.
If you are in your first year
It’s likely some of your classmates will be talking about internships, but actually not all the opportunities for 1st year students are called internships at all. They are usually shorter, may happen in summer or Easter, or if it’s just a visit day, pretty much at any time.
See information on spring weeks and insight days
Want to do an internship or get experience overseas?
Just be aware that the meaning of an internship differs in different countries. It may be considered to be something you do as a graduate, it may not fit into a summer vacation, it will often be unpaid and you will also find opportunities you have to pay to do. Do your research and talk to us about your plans.