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Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Week 1: What is an internship or work experience opportunity?


Welcome to Week 1 of the free badged course Internships and other work experiences. Congratulations! You’ve taken your first step towards gaining valuable work experience and achieving the career you want to have.

The word ‘internship’ might be familiar to you but do you know what it actually means or how to choose the right opportunities to support your future plans? This course will help you to identify what’s right for you, what to look for and how to obtain appropriate experience and maximise your learning and career development throughout.

While ‘internship’ is a commonly used word and will feature regularly throughout this course, it is important to understand that there are other forms of work experience that are equally useful and that in some sectors the word ‘internship’ is not commonly used.

If you’re a mature applicant, not currently in education or looking for part-time positions, internship and work experience opportunities are certainly available to you. However, you’ll find that many of the roles advertised online are aimed at school, college or university students, so a more proactive approach can be beneficial. Of course, this can be a useful approach for anyone looking for work experience and you’ll explore it in more detail as you progress through the course.

This week, you’ll start by exploring some definitions and learning more about the terminology employers use to describe work experience, so you’ll know what to look for. You’ll reflect on any work experience that you’ve already had and start to identify what you want to gain from completing this course.

Watch this video that introduces the week:

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Video 1
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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • describe an internship and understand the difference between that and other forms of work experience
  • identify key learning points from your own work experiences so far
  • clarify your aims for the course.

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help, and if you haven’t done so already, please fill in this optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.