Graduate Internships: The Chicken and Egg

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Chicken and Egg

So, you’ve slogged your guts out for three years and the goal posts have just moved. You’re reading job adverts and a degree isn’t enough. They want experience too.  *Head in hands moment* 😱

Yep, it’s the archetypal chicken and egg scenario. How on earth are you supposed to get experience if you need experience to get started?

This is where paid graduate internships come in. Whilst you can – and should – apply the experience you gained as a Barrista or Shelf Stacker to job applications, graduate internships help you to develop your skills and track record in more specialist areas.

Offered on a short, fixed term basis, paid internships are you – and an employer’s – chance to ‘try before you buy. They can help you discover whether you really do want to work in a particular field. If you love it, great – you’ll have 6 months experience under your belt. If you hate it, you’re not tied in for long and you’ve still bridged the experience gap. Everyone’s a winner.

Graduate internships are widely available and can offer an outstanding opportunity to kick start your career. You do however need to exercise a little caution to make sure that you know your rights and are paid a fair rate for your contribution.

For this reason, we recommend graduate internships managed via university careers departments.

For example, our friends at the University of Exeter run a host of internships that are open to graduates of any UK university. They're called Graduate Business Partnerships (GBPs) and are managed by the university.  As part of the scheme, you benefit from  employability training plus 1:1 support should you need it. Plus, you get paid and minimum of £21K. What’s not to love?

Take a look at your careers service website to find out what's on offer and there's every chance that  you'll solve the chicken and egg dilemma. 

Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate and a Director of Gradsouthwest. She managed the service for many years before going freelance in project management and communications. She now works as an Associate for a number of creative agencies and remains passionate about helping early career graduates find fulfilling careers in the south west.