Engineering and Manufacturing

Gaining Experience

Engineering & Manufacturing

Competition for jobs in these sectors can be fierce and work experience could be the deciding factor in securing a graduate job. Undertaking work experience is invaluable to develop expertise and the all-important transferable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work. The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.

Below you will find out about the different kinds of work experience opportunities available, as well as some key resources to locate these, and some top tips for success.


Placements and internships 


Placements usually last between 6-12 months and can be taken as part of your degree programme. A placement year in the engineering sector will provide you with an invaluable insight into working life and offer a unique opportunity to apply the industry knowledge you are learning as part of your studies.If you are interested in completing a placement year, speak to your Faculty Placement Office. 


Find out more about placements



An internship is usually a work experience opportunity that is offered for a fixed period or a limited amount of time. Internships tend to be undertaken by students and graduates who are looking to gain more relevant/industry specific skills and experience in their particular field.

These opportunities can be paid for a period of between one to four months and typically take place over the summer, with closing dates generally around January to March, but some can be earlier.


Find out more about internships




Finding placements and internships in engineering

Below you will find some key resources to help kickstart your search for engineering placements and internships:

  • RateMyPlacement – offers information on placements, internships, insights and work experience with a range of companies and organisations across the engineering sector.
  • Gradcracker – as the UK’s careers website for Technology students, Gradcracker provides a search function for placements and internships relevant to your degree discipline.
  • TARGETjobs – provides information on different career sectors within engineering, with the ability to search for placement and internship opportunities.
  • Prospects – has its own search tool for work experience opportunities across sectors, including mechanical, manufacturing and electronic engineering.
  • Milkround – provides a search tool for internships and industrial placements across sectors, including engineering and manufacturing.
  • All About Careers – outlines different types of work experience and companies within engineering, referring to external websites and hosting its own jobs board.
  • TheBigChoice – links to a variety of internships and placements in the UK, including across engineering sectors.
  • Step Recruitment – provider of paid student and graduate internships and placements across a range of sectors, including engineering.


Companies offering engineering placements/internships

The websites below are those of some companies known to offer experience to students and graduates in your sector area, such as industrial placements and internships.

By accessing these sites and carrying out some initial research about the companies, you may find additional information about some of the opportunities available to you.





Getting involved in volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop employability skills and experience a variety of working environments. Discover opportunities through the Volunteering Bank on MyCareer, listing roles like:

  • STEM Ambassador with STEM Learning
  • Boat Restoration Volunteer with Boathouse 4
  • Repairer at Repair Cafe

Find out more about volunteering

One student explaining to another how to use equipment



Speculative applications

To gain work experience, as well as searching and applying for advertised roles, you might consider approaching employers yourself to enquire about any suitable opportunities. This is called a speculative application.

They involve sending a CV and cover letter to an employer to ask if they can offer any work experience, even if the company is not currently advertising placements or internships.

Submitting a speculative application shows your interest in a specific company and your willingness to go above and beyond to develop your skills and understanding of the industry. 



Tips for success

  • Research the different potential employers who may be looking for graduates within the mechanical, manufacturing or electronic sectors before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills. 
  • Network - there are many opportunities for engineering students to network. This is about interacting with others to share information and contacts. It’s a great way as a student and as a graduate to meet a variety of people in the engineering industry – from recruiters and executives to graduates and other students in your area. Opportunities to network may include careers fairs, employer talks or presentations, guest lectures and workshops or skills sessions delivered by recruiters.
  • Create a positive online presence - create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers – see our ‘Networking and Social Media’ section for further guidance. ‌



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