What is an internship?

An internship is:

  • A paid employment opportunity reserved for university students and graduates.
  • A role that offers challenging duties and responsibilities.
  • An opportunity for interns to apply and develop university level skills, knowledge and experience.
  • Where a supportive employer provides training and guidance.
  • A valuable experience where businesses see positive results and early careers are developed.

Benefits of employing an intern: 

Student and graduate interns are:

  • Enthusiastic to start their careers and make a difference in your business
  • Intelligent, quick to learn and work at pace.
  • Respectful and keen to learn from your experience 
  • Approaching your business with fresh eyes, bringing new thoughts and ideas and often a young person’s perspective.
  • Bringing the most up to date learning of their subject.
  • Ambitious and want to build their experience to progress in their careers.

What type of work can an intern undertake in my business? 

Interns can work in all challenging areas of a business, including general business functions such as administration, finance, marketing and communication, human resources, and customer service. Or in more specialist or technical areas, such as supporting leaders with strategy, product development, engineering, software development, sustainability, data analysis, legal, languages, teaching and bioscience.

They key to remember is interns have a huge amount of potential and can really grow in confidence and take on more responsibility, but to begin with they cannot be seen as the expert as they will need support and guidance from experienced colleagues. 

What is the best time of the year to recruit an intern? 

To meet your needs we help businesses recruit interns all year round. Of course there are more popular times when more student and graduates are looking internships and want to undertake them:

  • Students want part-time internships during term-time throughout the year, so the most popular time to recruit into these roles are late September-mid November.
  • Students who want summer internships (6-8 weeks between Mid-June and Mid-September) apply for those between October-March.
  • Graduates who are seeking full-time roles when they graduate, so start applying for graduate jobs from October- March, then again June-September when they have finished their exams. 

It is worth noting that 25% of students have secured a graduate job offer going into their final year at university, so where possible, we recommend you offer student internships as well as a graduate role.

University of Exeter Internship Schemes:

Graduate Business Partnership (GBP)
Aids South West employers (University recruiting managers or local business), recruit recent graduates, into full-time roles.

Student Business Partnership (SBP)
Assists local business recruit students into part-time, term-time roles and summer internships.

Student Campus Partnership (SCP)
Helps University of Exeter recruiting managers, find the best student for part-time, term-time roles and summer internships.

Employer Subsidies- Access to Internships (A2I)
Provides funding to subsidise the cost of employing University of Exeter students and graduates. 

Professional Pathways: 
Sector specific, extra curricular student training programmes followed by a 35 hour, fully-funded internship in June.      

How does an internship differ from a placement?

  • Placements are defined in the same way as internships, apart from placements are:
  • Often more time limited and take place at specific times of the year.
  • May need to offer certain opportunities to meet the student’s module requirements of their degree.
  • Employers will need to provide a written report on the student’s placement.
  • Can legally be unpaid, however we would recommend you offer payment, to make your vacancy competitive. The University has a policy against promoting unpaid placements that are more than 2 weeks in duration.


Contact us

Internship Team, University of Exeter, Careerzone Balcony, The Forum, Stocker Rd, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4PY

To discuss your your employment needs, please email internships@exeter.ac.uk to arrange a meeting or call.