Bright Network Internship Experience UK: A First-Hand Account

The Bright Network Internship Experience is a free virtual internship which is open to everyone over the age of 18. 

Photo by Georgie Cobbs on Unsplash.

The scheme provides school leavers, current university students, and recent graduates with a valuable insight into one of 8 key sectors of the UK job market, giving participants the opportunity to connect with and learn from a range of leading employers. 

Handily, there are an unlimited number of online places available on each of the 8 different internship paths available, and since every experience is fully online, they can be completed from anywhere in the world. 

Whichever pathway you choose, your experience can be completed either as a three-day ‘live’ course, or in an ‘on demand’ format, which you can complete at your own pace. This means it’s really easy to fit the experience around your other commitments over the summer.  

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International students: how to maximise your chances of getting hired by a UK employer

The beauty of the Graduate route is that you can live and work in the UK even if you are not offered a Skilled Worker visa. As you probably know, securing sponsorship can be quite competitive. The Graduate route opens the door for international students to also consider less competitive opportunities, such as jobs in smaller organisations (called SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises), which in the UK account for over 99% of all businesses. Therefore, targeting SMEs to look for a job seems like a wise move. There are many benefits to working for smaller organisations – and you can find out more in our online guide “What is an SME? Why work for one?

How do I find a job with an SME?

Once you have narrowed down your search and feel you have some understanding of the market, focus on writing quality applications for a few of your preferred employers.

Stand in the hiring manager’s shoes and consider what will convince them to hire you.

Firstly, employers want someone that can DO THE JOB.

If you study a relevant degree, then you should be equipped with the right knowledge; you can include your relevant units and university projects in your CV to demonstrate this. If you have worked in a paid or unpaid role similar to the one you are applying for, detailing this experience is  key so that the employer can benchmark your abilities in the workplace. While in some countries employers focus primarily on academic results, UK employers are often more practically-minded and tend to favour experience in the workplace. We cannot stress enough how important it is to try to get as much practical experience so you can to provide evidence that you are a trusted professional.

Read through the listed skill requirements (which are usually clearly stated in the job description’s “person specification” section) and make sure you can provide varied and relevant examples of these skills.  Remember, when preparing these examples, follow the STAR structure.

You can prepare examples to demonstrate that you have commonly required skills in advance –use a spreadsheet to record your stories. Prospects’ job profile lists some of the typical skills asked for.

Compared with home students, you might have less UK experience and connections, so to counteract this consider your experience from your home country and do not forget your USPs (unique selling points) such as foreign language skills. If the organisation you are applying for runs projects in your home country or is preparing to expand to your home country, then you need to prepare yourself and confidently present your understanding of your home country market.

Secondly, employers want to know you will fit in

This is why most job listings include communication and team working skills as requirements.  If English isn’t your first language, it’s likely that your written English skills for academic purposes have been sharpened during your study at the University of Bristol, but you also need to familiarise yourself with the language professionals use and how they present themselves:

Your personality and values also matter. Connect with employees on LinkedIn and ask them about the work culture to assess whether the employer will be a good fit for you.

Thirdly, employers need to understand that hiring you is easy

SMEs may not be familiar with the recent immigration changes, or may be concerned that the Graduate route only allows them to hire you for a limited period. However, there is no guarantee that any recent graduate would stay longer term. Confidently present the value you can bring during the Graduate route period and make sure you know how to explain longer-term options like the Skilled Worker route: Watch our Intro: Get a graduate job in the UK – your visa options.

For more on getting work in the UK, including sponsored jobs, read our other blogs:

3 steps to making the most of the graduate route

Get a UK Job: A Timeline for International Students

Inline illustration by Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay

Author: Stella Wang, Careers Support Officer (International) 2021

TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards – Hello Finalists!

We are excited to announce that this year, six University of Bristol students have been chosen as finalists for the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards!   

The TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards is an annual competition to celebrate the best undergraduates in the UK. Each award is partnered with a graduate recruiter who offers an amazing prize for the winner, including a paid internship, trips abroad, and other exclusive opportunities.  

via GIPHY

To become finalists, students first had to complete an application, including essay-style questions and online tests. Once passing that stage, students were either invited to a telephone interview or to take part in an assessment centre.

We caught up with our six nominees to hear more about their journeys to becoming finalists.

Catherine Davies for The Management Undergraduate of the Year Award 2021

Management (BSc) Year 2 – PLUS Award achiever and SME Internship Scheme intern 

Catherine Davies

 

“My time in the University has aided my success in the award as throughout my degree I have been able to gain multiple skills and experiences. I have been able to develop my leadership and communication skills, through group work projects, wider learning through completing a sustainable future course as part of the Bristol PLUS Award, and also my employability skills by completing an internship last summer as part of the SME Internship Scheme. 

 

Jessica Slater for The Undergraduate of the Year Award for Sustainable Thinking 2021

Geography (BSc) Year 2 and Covid 19 Internship Scheme intern 

Jessica Slater

 

I’m currently working with Sustainabubbles CIC on a paid internship which I found through the Careers Service. I have some invaluable experience working here and learnt so much about sustainability and how a Community Interest Company operates, and this has definitely helped me receive this nomination.”

 

Jude D’Alesio for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021

Honours Law (LLB) Year 2 and PLUS Award achiever  

Jude D’Alesio

 

The PLUS Award, and the wider Careers Service, have been enormously helpful in allowing me to reach the finals of the award. It has never been in doubt that Bristol University breeds employable graduates, and with the myriad of opportunities on offer ranging from webinars to mock interviews, I now know why.”  

 

Megan Jenkins for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021

Geography (BSc) Year 2 and PLUS Award achiever 

Megan Jenkins

 

I applied to the First Generation Award as it is something myself and my family are very proud of and the application process seemed most interesting to me. The skills I’ve gained through partaking in the Careers Service talks and workshops helped me immensely throughout the application process. In particular, I did a workshop on online interview skills that was very useful. 

 

Simran Bassi, for The Management Undergraduate of the Year Award 2021

International Business Management and German (BA) Year 2

Simran Bassi

 

As a management student, I felt that this award would help me take the first steps into my career, whilst also having the chance to network and meet other students. Overall, the whole experience has given me great insight into the management field and I can’t wait to use my new skills throughout my degree and further develop them in the industry after graduating. 

 

Zachary Levenson for The First Generation Undergraduate of the Year 2021

Aerospace Engineering (MEng) Year 3 and PLUS Award achiever 

Zachary Levenson

 

I saw the award as a great opportunity to be able to share my experience as a first-generation university student. Coming from a family where my parents didn’t have the same opportunities as I did, I aim to encourage prospective students from a similar background to reap the benefits of higher education. 

 

 

 


The final is usually held in person in London, with only the student finalists and employer partners invited to attend. This year, the final will be held virtually with Rachel Riley as the host. So, if you want to watch our students in action, you can register here and join in the ceremony on Friday 30th April at 1 pm. 

We want to congratulate these amazing students for their great achievement of becoming a finalist and wish them immense luck at the finals on Friday 30 April. 

We have our fingers and toes crossed for you! 

 

My COVID-19 SME Internship: Ed – EcoStyle

Ed, a 4th year Engineering student worked for Ecostyle last Summer, a design and manufacture companyEcostyle create interactive educational models to promote renewable energy and water efficiency. Ed secured his role by sourcing his own internship after hearing about the COVID-19 Internship scheme. Here’s what he had to say about the experience. 

What was the aim of your internship? 

To develop resources and product development concepts which enable socially distanced hands-on learning of renewable technologies, in a classroom or at home. The resources should encourage sales of EcoStyle products whilst promoting an incredibly vital industry and renewable STEM career path.  (more…)

My COVID-19 SME Internship: Anouk – LikeToBe

Hi, my name is Anouk. I had just handed in my PhD thesis when I applied for the COVID-19 SME Internship as an Event Manager at a  digital platform; LikeToBe. LikeToBe is an online network which helps introduce students to professional online networking and creates regular employer engagements through online careers talks, which are available to watch here.

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Key messages from the Faculty of Arts Careers Series (February 2021)

Hundreds of you attended the Faculty of Arts Careers Series, where alumni shared their fascinating journeys from their Arts degree to their current career.

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The COVID-19 SME Internship Fund

What is the Fund?

We have launched a new internship fund to provide paid work experience of 4 weeks within UK-based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The aim of this fund is to support organisations whilst providing opportunities for internships where you can make a difference.  (more…)

My COVID-19 SME Internship: Katie – Brave Bold Drama

Hello, I’m Katie and I partook in a COVID-19 SME Internship from June to August 2020 with the Community Arts and Theatre company Brave Bold Drama based in Hartcliffe and Withywood, though I was working remotely. I was the Assistant Producer Intern and was primarily working on the Bristol and Bath Creative R+D ‘Expanded Performance’ Research project, of which Brave Bold Drama was an industry partner.

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It’s International Womens Day!

Find out Today, the 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD). The global annual celebration celebrates the social, economic and political achievements of women and simultaneously raises awareness on gender equality.

This week, there are lots of incentives and events taking place nationally and internationally which celebrate women overcoming challenges and creating an impact- however big or small- on today’s society. Although many are taking place today or over the next week, these events should act as a springboard for change over the next 12 months. This years theme is #Choosetochallenge . Here are some ways you can challenge yourselves this International Women’s Day.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Challenge diversity within business

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My COVID-19 SME Internship: Viktor – Raw Space 

Introduction 

Hi! My name is Viktor, I’m a second year Computer Science student. Just like many other students I hoped to secure an internship in order to gain valuable work experience and insight into the industry. However, due to a worldwide pandemic that proved to be a rather difficult task. Luckily, I stumbled upon a Web Developer Internship at Raw Space and that’s how it all began.  (more…)