Getting work experience after graduation
If you’ve recently graduated and haven’t yet been offered a graduate job, you can boost your skills and gain a foothold in the world of work by undertaking a graduate placement or internship. These can help you to make industry contacts, prove yourself to an employer, build your confidence and put you in a stronger position to get a permanent graduate job.
Graduate placements and work experience opportunities
Graduates can take part in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). A KTP is a three-way project between a graduate, a university and an organisation. As a graduate on a KTP you could be recruited to manage a strategic project, lasting from one to three years, or you could undertake a shorter KTP placement, lasting anything from 10 to 40 weeks.
The Graduate Step programme, backed by a mixture of universities, government departments and agencies, offers internships and work placements of varying lengths from a month up to a year. Step is also partnered with TARGETjobs and you can find an up-to-date list of all the current opportunities here.
The government-backed Graduate Talent Pool is a partnership between the government and employers to help new and recent graduates find work experience.
Some large companies offer internships and placements specifically for recent graduates and publicise details of these on their websites, so if you are interested in a particular employer, check online to see if there is anything on offer that could be appropriate for you now. Organisations that offer structured work experience schemes tend to make it clear whether undergraduates or graduates are eligible to apply; however, some may also accept applications from graduates for internships usually offered to undergraduates.
How does an internship affect your Jobseeker’s Allowance claim?
Some graduate internships are unpaid and you’ll want to think carefully about your options before taking one on. You need to balance the value of the experience against the lack of financial reward. If you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), taking up an internship may affect your entitlement.
You can continue to claim JSA if your internship involves up to 16 hours’ work a week. If it involves more than 16 hours a week, you may no longer be eligible to claim JSA. If you are on a placement and claiming JSA, you must continue to look for work and be prepared to leave the internship if you’re offered a job.