Real work experience

"I'm planning to follow a career in sales after university and my placement will help me a lot with this. A year at a company such as IBM is very valuable as I have already adapted to working life and experienced how a multinational company operates."

Greg, studying Economics and Finance with Industrial Experience


Employers value work experience, whether it’s a work placement, vacation work, university internship, summer internship, short-term project work or casual work. Structured placements and internships will help you to develop business acumen and specific skills that will be useful in your chosen career.

We offer excellent opportunities to gain real business experience; even if your degree doesn’t include a placement as a core element of the course, there are many opportunities to get real work experience. 

We develop work placements and project opportunities with regional, national and international employers and we have work placement coordinators based in academic departments to support you in organising placements and internships.

If you take these opportunities you will develop many of the top attributes sought by employers - communication and presentation skills; time and self-management skills; teamwork, problem solving and project management skills.

The training and business experience opportunities described below are open to students in both Exeter and Cornwall.

Structured placements and internships will help you to develop business acumen and may also help you develop specific skills that will be useful in your chosen career.

Many of our degrees include a work experience module as an integral part of the programme. For those that don’t, you can opt to do one of the generic independent work experience modules. Through either paid or voluntary work placements, the module will help you develop essential transferable skills for your future employability.

You will find details of work experience modules available for your chosen programme on the 'Careers' section found on every course page. 

The Student Ambassador Scheme employs students as ambassadors to give potential university applicants a student’s view of university life. Ambassadors take part in a variety of activities including:

  • visiting schools and colleges in the South West,
  • giving tours of the campuses to prospective students and their parents,
  • attending Higher Education Fairs,
  • and helping out with University Open Days.

Aimed at entrepreneurial second-year students, the Career Mentor Scheme matches you with a mentor from business or an alumnus who can help you build networks or contacts, plan your career and develop your employability.

Apart from providing you with money, a part-time job can provide you with experience to add to your CV.

  • Whatever job you do you can demonstrate to a future employer what you have learned from it.
  • You will develop skills such as time-keeping, learning how to deal with colleagues, working as part of a team, problem solving and commercial awareness.
  • It shows your future graduate employer that you actually know what it's like having a job.
  • Part-time work could provide experience in a field that you want a career in, helping convince employers you are serious about that career path.

Our Career Zone can help you find temporary, part-time and vacation work.

Exeter is proud to be one of the top universities offering Degree Apprenticeships. These innovative new degrees combine university study with paid work in a professional role related to your degree. One major benefit of choosing a Degree Apprenticeship is that your tuition fees will be paid for by your employer; you’ll also earn a salary throughout your studies. These degrees offer great employment prospects, as you’ll have gained valuable work experience prior to graduating.

Our degrees are delivered and developed in partnership with employers. As an applicant you can find yourself working for an amazing company, including those who are often among our top graduate employers. Partners have included IBM, the Met Office, Renishaw, BT, Laing O’Rourke and Airbus.

All of our Degree Apprenticeships lead to full Exeter degrees. 

Natasha Bellinger, LLB Law

As a Student Ambassador, not only do I get to meet lots of different people from across the university, but the role has helped me to develop my confidence and communication skills. I have also benefited from being assigned a mentor in the legal profession, and have enjoyed getting involved in the variety of pro bono work organised by the Law School. I have made several trips to London, including visiting 11 Downing Street, and have attended various dinners and networking events that have really opened my eyes to the prospects that an Exeter degree gives you. Exeter has so much to offer, there is something for everyone in terms of societies; my personal favourites are the Debating Society, Bracton Law Society and the Dance Society. Being a campus university there is a very noticeable community atmosphere. Yet, the town centre is so close by, which is great for getting part-time jobs or just for a wander around the shops!

Natasha Bellinger, LLB Law

Alex Quayle, BA English

The University is always there to help you build your CV. One thing they did for me was help to find me a STEP placement. They’re paid internships in a professional environment and there were so many on offer that it was simple to find one that I was interested in. You can find a placement in business, marketing, media; so many industries are involved.

I was lucky enough to work for Exeter University’s Marketing Department for eight weeks as a copywriter. My job was to write a guide for prospective students to Exeter and Devon, so I spent the summer out and about researching, or typing up articles. I learnt a great amount of things about working to deadlines and writing professionally. I also gained many transferable skills and my computer proficiency has benefited hugely.

It’s given me the confidence to know what I want to do in the future, and how to go about presenting myself and applying for jobs. Work experience is a great polish to your CV to show that you’ve worked professionally, and the money I earned didn’t hurt either.

Read my Guide to Exeter

Alex Quayle, BA English