Internships and work experience placements provide the perfect opportunity for undergraduates to fine tune their business acumen before heading out into the graduate jobs market for the first time.

And the good news is that today’s undergraduates are spoilt for choice when it comes to opportunities to get hands-on experience in the world of work.
According to the latest figures released by online student resource,, the number of undergraduates securing internships and work placements hit a record average of 167 students per employer in the 2013-14 academic year. This represents a year-on-year rise of 8%.

The above figure is said to have been buoyed by an increase in the number of students accepted into short-term insight schemes. This figure has climbed by 23% between the 2012-13 academic year and the 2013-14 academic year to reach an average of 130 students per scheme.
Further figures from the research revealed that more than half (56%) of undergraduates taking work experience placements are expected to return to work at the same employer once their placement has been completed.

Internships – an opportunity to “identify top talent”

Commenting on the figures, Oliver Sidwell, co-founder said: “With more and more competition for graduate jobs, employers are placing increased focus on placements and internships to identify top talent as early as possible. This is positive news for students, providing more opportunities across a range of year-long placements, summer internships, vacation schemes and short term insights to make an impression in their desired fields. However it also highlights the importance of weighing up career options sooner rather than later, to avoid being left behind.”

Earlier this year a survey conducted by ICM Research also outlined the importance of work experience programmes for both employers and potential employees.

It found that two in every five employers will recruit a young person who has at least six weeks’ high-quality work experience to bring to the table.

Even more positive is the fact that almost half (49%) of employers would consider creating a whole new role for young recruits if they had managed to impress them during a work experience placement.