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Internships / Placements Awareness

At UCL Careers we know that students are busy trying to get work experience through placements and internships. We wanted to give you some information to help you on this.

Placement and internships that are a formal part of your academic programme including:

  • An industrial placement
  • An internship or project which is assessed, credited or a compulsory part of your academic programme

At UCL these will be organised at department level. The department will be responsible for monitoring them and should have written agreements with the internship/placement host organisation and yourself which sets out terms and conditions for the placement/internship. You will need to speak to the departmental placement coordinator if you have any questions about these.

Internships that you have organised yourself and where it is not a compulsory part of your academic programme including:

  • Optional internships that you have found yourself
  • An internship after your programme has finished
  • A year in industry where you have interrupted your degree

Many students at UCL want to find internship/placements for themselves. If you are trying to do this you can make use of UCL Careers, especially our job sites and advice and guidance.

For internships/placements you have sourced that are not part of an academic programme there will be no agreement between UCL, the host organisation and you, unless you know of any separate arrangements that have been made on your behalf by your department.

It is important that you satisfy yourself that the internship/placement will give you a good learning opportunity, that it is safe and that there is adequate insurance in place to cover you should any problems occur. We advise you to make sure you have details about the internship/placement in writing from the host organisation and you review the legitimacy of the internship before you start it by making sure you have the following information:

1) Does the internship comply with National Minimum Wage legislation (or the equivalent for anything that is international)?  If it does not, you need to think about whether you want to go on an internship where you may not get paid.

2) Does the host company have in force a current Health and Safety policy (or the equivalent for anything that is international) which the student will be covered by during the internship?

3) Does the host company have current Employee's and Public liability insurance policies (or the equivalent for anything that is within a government department or international) which the student will be covered by during the internship? If not, you will be working with no insurance cover. Most employers in the UK are required to hold Employers Liability insurance as it is a legal requirement and there is an agreement among the UK insurance industry that work experience persons will be regarded as employees by all UK insurers and covered by these liability policies. You might want to try to persuade the organisation to cover you for liability as the cost of this is usually very little. If an organisation does not want to cover you may want to reconsider whether you want to undertake this opportunity as there are many out there where this would not be the case.

4) Will you have a supervisor in the organisation who you can go to for guidance and support during the internship? If not, what would you do if you needed help?

You might also want to take a look at the employment rights of interns on the Government website at http://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns.

Unless you can satisfy yourself that you will be safe and supported during the internship/placement we would advise you to find a different one where you will be. If you want to discuss how to approach an employer about any of this please do come and see a UCL Careers Consultant for a short guidance appointment.

For students who have been asked to get a Convention de Stage signed by UCL please see the information under "One to One Advice" at Work or Study Overseas