Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Internships and other work experiences

3 Practical considerations

There are a number of practical issues that you might need to take into consideration when choosing your work experience.

Location

This may be less of an issue if you are a new graduate with no ties to a particular place, but if you have family commitments, for example, then location could be very important. This can have an impact if your ambitions lie in a sector with a particular geographical bias – for example, many media production companies are based in London.

Travel and other costs, such as accommodation, could be significant if your work experience isn’t conveniently located.

Alternatively, you might be considering an overseas experience, where travel will be a significant factor. The Prospects website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] has a useful section on working abroad, with details on over 30 countries including information on summer jobs and internships.

Salary

As you’ve already learned, internships and other work experiences in certain sectors might be unpaid. Even if they are paid, the amount will depend heavily on the industry you choose and may be the minimum wage for your age bracket.

The government reviews the minimum wage each year. The latest figures can be found on their website.

It’s important to consider whether your salary will cover the expenditure you need it to. The next activity will help you do this.

Activity 4 What does my salary need to cover?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes for this activity

Use the table below to list the things that your work experience salary will have to cover while you are doing it. If you can calculate an approximate cost, enter it into the second column.

Table 2 Itemised living costs (per year)

Item/service etc. Approximate cost
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
Total
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
 
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

Depending on your circumstances, you might have included travel, accommodation, food, bills, childcare, social life etc. If you find that your chosen work experience is unlikely to cover those costs, a plan B may be required.

If you found this activity useful, you might want to take longer over it and work out the costs in more detail.

If finance, other work commitments or location are issues, a remote or virtual internship might be a good option. You can find out more about these in Week 7. Another option might be to look for work that you can do alongside your studies, or voluntary work you can do at weekends or during a short period of leave.

Financial support

If you are currently in higher education, some universities provide bursaries to help with the costs of work experience, particularly if it is unpaid. Contact your careers service to find out more.

Duration

What is practical for your current situation? For example, you might prefer to do work experience for a specific time period during a holiday, or perhaps it could run alongside your other activities on a part-time basis. You might be looking for a variety of short periods of work experience in different organisations or even sectors, or you might prefer to do a longer period with one employer.

Compromise

If you aren’t able to find something that matches your needs exactly, it is useful to have an idea of what you are willing or able to compromise on. For example, could you manage on a smaller income if you made certain cuts to your expenditure? Would buying a discounted season ticket help with your travel costs and widen potential location?

How far might you be willing to compromise for the ideal work experience opportunity?

Having an idea about what would suit you best on a practical level will allow you to make decisions more easily when you come across different opportunities. You’ll look at the decision-making process in the next section.

INT_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371