Internships and placements

Accenture’s guide to internship alternatives

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

If you’re concerned that you haven’t completed an internship or formal work experience during your degree, or would like first-hand insights into an employer’s culture, Accenture suggests alternatives that can help you fill in the gaps.

The virtual experience programme at Accenture

Internships, work experience, a placement year – you might think you’ll have to tick at least one of these three boxes to have a chance of securing a graduate job at a top-ranking UK300 company – right? Wrong! New technology is ensuring that forward thinking organisations don’t miss out on good candidates who weren’t in the right place at the right time. Lydia Pincott of Accenture explains.

Tell us about traditional internships and placements

Almost all organised schemes across different industries are aimed at students in their penultimate year because so many organisations recruit a year in advance. We too have been strict when it comes to internships: so, no first years and no postgraduates, for example. We offer year-long programmes as a university sandwich year and have a vacation scheme – a three-week summer programme – both aimed at penultimate year students.

But we’ve recognised that our timeframe doesn’t always work for students. You might be a first-year student thinking about options, or a second-year student who didn’t get offered a placement. We understand that for some people, because of time or financial restraints, or an issue with eligibility, disability or illness, securing internships and work experience can be difficult. We know it’s hard to participate in a placement if you are already in a career, where taking time off would cause a conflict of interest.

So, what’s the alternative for the curious, the career changer and those late to the party?

We have a variety of opportunities online. Typically a virtual experience programme will take five to eight hours, but you can do each at your own pace and at any point in your career. Here’s what’s available:

  • Our Introduction to Accenture programme will give you a taste of the work we do across our range of business areas – the perfect course if you are still figuring out what you want to do.
  • If you want a deeper insight into our Consulting or Technology career tracks, then our Technology Foundations or Consulting Foundations programmes are for you. You’ll get to experience the work we do in these areas and build valuable skills relevant to each, like stakeholder management and data interpretation if you do the Consulting Foundations, and software development and testing methodologies if you do the Technology Foundations.
  • You can do one, two, or all three of these courses – and we hope they will not only bring you clarity on if it could be the right career for you, but also support you to build widely recognised skills and amplify your applications.

In summary, there are more routes into Accenture than you might think. You can learn more about each of these three virtual programmes and sign up here .

How true to real life is the virtual experience?

Just like an in-person scheme:

  • You’ll get feedback on your work – and it is up-to-date work of the kind you would do if you joined us
  • Throughout the programmes you’ll hear from some of our existing Accenture employees - so you can find out more about their work and connect with them on LinkedIn
  • As you complete each virtual experience programme you’ll be awarded a certificate that you can use on your CV and on your LinkedIn profile – important as you’re heading towards a career.

It’s worth adding that virtual programmes are a great way of getting experience and exposure so you can decide whether you want to work at an organisation and helping you narrow down the skills you will need to secure a job there. And as other businesses are involved in similar programmes you can undertake virtual internships across companies in a way you just wouldn’t be able to do in real life.

Are there any barriers?

If you have limited data allowance or low broadband speed, you can complete your virtual internship at a library, in school or university, or at an internet café on a tablet or iPad. Because it’s hosted on an education-based platform their firewalls won’t block you. This also isn’t an “either-or” with our formal programmes - if you still want to apply to one of our formal schemes, we encourage you to do so and this won’t have any negative impact on your application. In fact, we think the opposite. If you have completed one of our virtual programmes you’ll have a better understanding of our business, the role, and some relevant skills too, which you can mention in your application.

Could a recent graduate who missed out during the pandemic rethink their career by doing an online internship?

Yes, and besides, it’s a great way of helping you to assess and realise all the skills that you have gathered during the course of your career so far and how to apply them to your future career.

So it really is for everybody?

It really is. Even if you’re not at university yet, we’d encourage you to try a virtual experience programme as a way of choosing a degree course or university that aligns with your career aspirations for the future. It’s also useful for career switchers, who might not be eligible for placements but still want to understand more about the company and coming to us as a graduate. We have no age/experience limits for our virtual experience programmes.

I’ve done a virtual experience programme, what happens next?

Our recruitment cycle remains the same, so while you can do the online internship at any point in time, our graduate programme applications are only open in the Autumn. If you have to wait before applications open, in the meantime you can learn to code, discover more about the metaverse, and cultivate and develop the interests and skills you might need in a career with a technology company. Use the advantage that you already have with Accenture on your CV to tailor your application much more closely to what we are looking for and to align to the work we do. Showcase and highlight the skills you have learned or picked up during the online internship and we will know that you are applying because you want to be here, and that you already have an understanding of what we do.

Find out more about Accenture’s Virtual Work Experience Programmes and sign up here .

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.