Scientific Research & Analysis
Work experience can be invaluable to develop your skills, enhance your employability prospects as well as building some professional contacts with employers in the sector. Please see below for some different ways you could find work experience within the scientific sector.
Types of opportunities
Internships and Placements
You might be able to secure an internship, which is a short term work opportunity, or a placement as part of your year in industry.
Several large employers in this sector, such as Unilever, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and P&G, regularly offer internships and industrial placements. Applications generally open around September, with closing dates as early as October and November.
You can find more internship and placement opportunities through:
If you are considering a placement year in industry, a good first point of contact is your Science and Health Placement Hub, who can support you in locating a suitable opportunity.
Lab Work Experience
You could also look to arrange your own work experience, by undertaking your own research into laboratories of interest and approaching them directly to enquire of any suitable opportunities. This is called a speculative approach.
Useful resources to assist you in locating labs to target as part of your search are:
- UK Science Park - a directory of Science Parks in the UK
- NHS Trust Directory - try approaching the principal clinical scientist in your local NHS Trust (you may have to go through the HR department)
- One Nucleus - a directory of biotech companies
- Science and Health Faculty - check your School notice boards and contact science lecturers. They may be looking for lab support staff/assistants during vacations or term time
Several academic institutions and research institutes offer summer research projects to students. Professional bodies and research councils also advertise opportunities, including clinical research, funding and studentships. Use the links below, as well as internet search engines, to help you find suitable opportunities:
- Francis Crick Institute
- Royal Society of Biology
- National Centre for Health and Care Research
- John Innes Centre
Tips to build experience
- Consider volunteering; whilst this might not give you direct lab experience, it will still give you valuable skills to add to your CV. Check out current vacancies on MyCareer.
- A part time job, such as a healthcare assistant, might help you gain experience dealing with patients and awareness of the sector.
- Talk to your tutors and lecturers: you may already have access to a wide potential network of contacts that you could approach.
- Use the Alumni tool on LinkedIn to get in touch with previous graduates already working in the sector for advice.
- Large organisations post opportunities on their social media pages so it is worth following these pages to keep an eye on your chosen sector.
- Be proactive in arranging your own work experience by directly approaching organisations.