Bridge structure

Which engineering employers offer summer internships or industrial placements?

The majority of leading engineering companies offer work experience to student engineers. Here’s what’s on offer.

Relevant work experience isn’t essential for getting a graduate engineering job – however, it certainly helps. TARGETjobs Engineering’s Student Survey found that finding a placement was a major worry for undergraduate engineers, so we’ve put together a quick guide to opportunities offered by leading UK engineering employers. You’ll find both summer internship and industrial placement options.

Engineering internships for summer vacations

Numerous employers offer engineering summer placements. Some are open to any student, while others are limited to those who have just finished their penultimate year. Here are a number to consider – though this isn't an exhaustive list.

  • AkzoNobel: offers 12-week summer internships.
  • AMEC: offers summer placements.
  • Atkins: summer placements are available for students at any stage in their degree.
  • Babcock: offers a 10-to-12-week summer internship programme.
  • BAE Systems: offers 12-week summer placements.
  • Balfour Beatty: has summer internship programmes lasting eight to 12 weeks.
  • BG Group: offers placements of between eight and 12 weeks to penultimate-year students.
  • BOC: offers summer internships of up to ten weeks for second- or third-year students.
  • BP: runs an 11-week summer internship aimed primarily at students in their penultimate year of undergraduate or postgraduate study (some internships are also open to third-year students undertaking a five-year sandwich course).
  • Dialog Semiconductor: offers summer placements that last between four weeks and three months.
  • DSTL: runs summer placements of eight to 12 weeks.
  • E.ON: offers two-month placements.
  • ExxonMobil: offers summer placements lasting two months.
  • First Group: offers summer internships lasting eight to twelve weeks.
  • GlaxoSmithKline: runs summer placements of up to ten weeks for students from chemical, mechanical, automaton or electrical engineering.
  • Imagination Technologies: offers summer internships that last from ten to 12 weeks.
  • Jaguar Land Rover: offers an eight-to-ten-week summer internship.
  • Lloyd’s Register: offers summer internships to students who are about to enter their final or penultimate year of university.
  • Mars: has a 12-week summer internship.
  • MBDA UK: summer placement programme lasts ten to 12 weeks.
  • Mott MacDonald: offers eight-week summer placements.
  • National Grid: a number of 12-week internships are available to students during the summer between their penultimate and final years at university.
  • Rolls-Royce: runs summer placements lasting ten to 12 weeks.
  • Shell: runs an internship scheme, typically lasting ten to 12 weeks over the summer.
  • Siemens: offers summer placements to first- and second-year undergraduates.
  • Transport for London: offers 12-week summer placements.
  • UK Power Networks: runs summer internships lasting ten to 12 weeks.
  • Unilver: has a 12-week summer placement in research and development.

Engineering industrial placements

Engineering industrial placements tend to last for 12 months, although in some cases they can be shorter. Some are restricted to penultimate-year students, while others are more flexible. Here's a number to consider – though again, there are plenty of others.

  • AkzoNobel: offers industrial placements lasting six to 12 months.
  • Airbus: placements of six to 12 months are available to undergraduates, including overseas placements for those who speak a relevant language.
  • Amec: offers placements lasting 12 months.
  • Atkins: industrial placements between eight and 12 months long are available for students who require a year in industry as part of a sandwich course.
  • Babcock: sandwich course placements of six months or one year are available.
  • BAE Systems: one-year industrial placements are available.
  • Balfour Beatty: offers industrial placements that can be 12 months long.
  • BP: runs year-long industrial placements aimed primarily at students in their penultimate year of undergraduate or postgraduate study (some placements are also open to third-year students undertaking a five-year sandwich course).
  • British Sugar: offers one-year industrial placements to those studying degrees in electrical, mechanical, chemical or process engineering or chemistry.
  • Caterpillar: runs one-year industrial placements.
  • Cummins: offers one-year placements.
  • Dialog Semiconductor: offers several one-year industrial placements.
  • DSTL: runs one-year industrial placements.
  • EDF Energy: offers 12-month industrial placements.
  • ExxonMobil: has industrial placements lasting a year.
  • Ford Motor Company: offers placements lasting up to 12 months. NB these are called 'business placements' but cover all functions, including product development.
  • GlaxoSmithKline: offers industrial placements to fit in with sandwich degrees.
  • Imagination Technologies: industrial placements can last from six months to one year.
  • Jaguar Land Rover: offers 12-month industrial placements, as well as six-month 'summer placements' starting in late June.
  • Johnson Matthey: has industrial placements.
  • L-3 TRLTechnology: runs one-year industrial placements.
  • Mars: has industrial placements lasting one year.
  • MBDA UK: runs one-year industrial placements.
  • Mott MacDonald: has industrial placements of up to one year.
  • National Grid: provides one-year placements for penultimate-year students.
  • Network Rail: offers placements lasting a minimum of 48 weeks.
  • npower: runs industrial placements lasting between six and 12 months.
  • Rolls-Royce: provides placements of six to 12 months.
  • Siemens: offers one-year placements to first- and second-year undergraduates.
  • TATA Steel: offers three to 12 month placements.
  • Thales: runs internship programmes lasting between three and 12 months.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd: runs an 11-month industrial placement scheme.
  • Transport for London: has one-year placements to fit between students' second and final years.
  • UK Power Networks: offers industrial placements lasting between ten and 12 months. 

Getting an engineering job without work experience

Employers’ views differ as to how important it is for graduate scheme applicants to have engineering work experience. A number point out that, while they value it, they are very happy to consider graduates who can demonstrate the required competences by drawing on other areas of their lives. These might include extra-curricular activities, voluntary work, part-time jobs or work experience outside engineering.