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. To help you find the right placement for you, we've put together a guide to the formal opportunities offered by leading UK engineering employers in 2020. Here you'll find a list of summer internships and, below that, a list of industrial placement years you could apply for. We've also listed some employers that offer shorter work experience stints in the spring. You can also click the highlighted links below to go straight to each section.
Often called 'spring weeks/days' or 'insight weeks/days', these opportunities aren't as common in engineering as they are in other career areas, such as finance, but more engineering employers are starting to offer them. These shorter formal work experience stints are usually aimed at first- and second-year engineering students. Here are a few to consider:
- BP: offers two types of insight days – discovery days and shadow days – in the summer. Travel expenses are covered.
- Mace : offers an insight week in April for first- and second-year undergraduates. High performers will be contacted to apply for other graduate or undergraduate opportunities.
- The Royal Navy: runs an undergraduate leadership programme for STEM students. It is made up of two events: one takes place on selected campuses for one day and the other lasts two days in Portsmouth. You can attend one or both of the events, but it is recommended to attend both if want to progress onto its summer internship.
- Unilever : offers a two-to-three day spring placement in April for first-year students. You can secure a summer placement or industrial placement through this programme.
Numerous employers offer engineering summer placements. Some are open to any student, while others are limited to penultimate year students. Here are a number to consider:
- AECOM : offers summer placements typically lasting between 6 and 12 weeks.
- Atkins, an SNC-Lavalin business : summer placements, typically lasting at least eight weeks, are available for pre-final-year students.
- Babcock International Group : offers 10-to-12 week summer placements to penultimate-year students. A few of its placements specify a preference for students in year three or above of their studies.
- BAE Systems : offers a 12-week summer internship scheme.
- Balfour Beatty: has a summer placement scheme lasting between 8 and 12 weeks.
- BP : runs summer internships for students in their penultimate year or students in their final year who are going on to do a masters in the next academic year.
- Centrica: offers summer internships lasting 10 weeks. These are usually for penultimate years but it does also accept applications from final-year and postgraduate students who are looking to start graduate employment in September/October 2020.
- Costain: runs an 8-12-week summer work placement as part of its Sponsored Student Programme.
- Cummins : runs a 10-12-week summer placement programme.
- Dialog Semiconductor: offers summer internships that last between four weeks and three months for students undertaking an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
- Dyson: offers a three-month summer internship for penultimate-year students.
- EDF Energy: offers summer internships.
- E.ON: offers summer placements.
- ExxonMobil: offers summer placements typically lasting eight weeks.
- Ford Motor Group: offers vacation trainee opportunities lasting a maximum of 12 weeks.
- GSK : runs summer placements of 8 to 12 weeks.
- Jaguar Land Rover: offers a three-month summer internship for penultimate-year students.
- Laing O'Rourke: runs summer placements ranging from a minimum of 8 weeks to 16 weeks long and encourages applications from first-year students.
- Leonardo: offers summer placements.
- Lloyd’s Register: offers summer internships.
- Lockheed Martin : runs summer placements.
- Mace : offers a ten-week summer placement for first-, second- and penultimate-year undergraduates.
- MBDA UK : runs a 10-12-week summer placement programme.
- Metaswitch : offers summer internships, lasting a minimum of eight weeks, to all undergraduates, including first-year students.
- Mott MacDonald : offers an 8-12-week summer internship.
- National Grid: offers 12-week summer internships for penultimate-year students.
- Network Rail: offers 10-week summer placements for penultimate-year students.
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK: runs a ten-week engineering placement scheme.
- Rolls-Royce: runs 10-week summer internships and accepts applications from first-years.
- Shell: runs an assessed internship programme lasting 10 to 12 weeks for penultimate-year students.
- Siemens: offers three-month summer internships and accepts applications from first years, as well as recent graduates.
- Skanska UK: offers an eight-week summer internship.
- Tata Steel: offers three-month placements.
- Transport for London: offers ten-week summer placements for penultimate-year students.
- Unilever : offers 12-week summer placements for penultimate-year students.
Engineering industrial placements (also sometimes called a year in industry) 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:
- AECOM : offers industrial placements lasting between 6 and 12 months.
- Airbus: placements lasting between 6 and 12 months are available to undergraduates, with the latter being more common
- Atkins, an SNC-Lavalin business : 12-month industrial placements are available for students who have the option to take a year out and work with an employer.
- Babcock International Group : offers 12-month industrial placements to students who are due to take a placement in industry as part of their degree.
- BAE Systems : one-year industrial placements are available.
- Balfour Beatty: offers an annual internship scheme that lasts up to 12 months.
- BMW Group: offers placements between 6 and 13 months to third-year students.
- Bosch: runs a 12-month placement scheme for undergraduates – 6-month internships are possible in some cases.
- Caterpillar: offers 12-month industrial placements for pre-final-year undergraduates.
- Centrica: hires year in industry students.
- Costain: offers an industrial placement period (6 to 12 months) as part of its Sponsored Student Programme.
- Cummins : runs a 12-month industrial placement scheme.
- Dialog Semiconductor: offers several one-year industrial placements.
- DSTL: runs one-year industrial placements.
- Dyson: offers 6- and 12-month engineering internships for penultimate-year students.
- EDF Energy: offers 12-month industrial placements.
- ExxonMobil: offers industrial placements lasting approximately 13 months.
- Ford Motor Company: offers 12-month placements. NB these are called 'business placements' but cover all functions, including electrified vehicle product development.
- GE: offers a 12-month internship.
- GSK : offers one-year industrial placements to fit in with sandwich degrees.
- Jaguar Land Rover: offers 6-, 12- or 15-month industrial placements for penultimate-year students or those applying for a placement as a formal part of their degree.
- Laing O'Rourke: offers industrial placements lasting 12 months for those studying a four-year sandwich degree.
- Leonardo: offers industrial placements.
- Lockheed Martin : runs a 12-month placement for students on a sandwich degree.
- Mace : offers 12-month industrial placements to students looking for a year in industry as part of a sandwich course.
- MBDA : runs 10-month industrial placement years.
- Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains: offers a number of 12-month placements to undergraduates.
- Metaswitch : offers internships lasting up to one year.
- Mott MacDonald : has 12-month industrial placements.
- National Grid: offers 12-month industrial placements for penultimate-year students.
- National Instruments: runs a 12-month internship on its engineering leadership programme.
- Network Rail: offers engineering placement years for penultimate-year students.
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK offers a one-year engineering placement scheme.
- Rolls-Royce: offers a 12-month internship.
- Siemens: provides 12-month industrial placements to those looking to complete a year in industry as part of their degree.
- Skanska UK: runs a one-year internship.
- Tata Steel: offers 12-month placements.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd: runs an industrial placement year scheme.
- UK Power Networks: offers engineering powering placements of 10-12 months to students looking for a year in industry between their second and third year of university.
- Unilever : offers 12-month industrial placements for penultimate-year students.
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 extracurricular activities, voluntary work, part-time jobs or work experience outside of engineering. Head to our article on what to plan for your summer if you can't find an engineering internship for more ideas.