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April 26, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

“I Want to Gain Experience”

By Alex Owusu, Employability Officer

Gaining work experience can be a vital tool in helping you develop transferrable skills, gain exposure to an industry or role and secure future job opportunities. Before starting your search, it’s important to consider a few different questions to aid your decision making.

Why do I want to gain experience?

Asking why you specifically want to gain experience can be an important starting place as it can help give you a steer on your answers to other questions.

For example, do you want to:

– gain experience in an industry or sector you would like to work in?

– explore an area of work you would like to find out more about and see if it could be the right fit for you?

– develop different transferrable skills you can utilise in the future?

You may have more than one reason, but the important thing is it will help you establish a purpose around gaining experience which you can factor in when starting your search.

How much time can I commit?

Different types of experience will require different levels of commitment, which you’ll need to factor into your thinking. If you’re thinking about gaining experience alongside your studies, you need to ask yourself how much time you can realistically commit without it impeding your studies. Undertaking work experience during holiday periods may give you more time and flexibility to offer but can also require a higher demand of hours, depending on the type of work experience you gain.

What type of experience would be best for me?

Experience can come in many forms so your answers to the previous questions may provide you with clarity about the options that could suit you. Below are some options you might consider:


A fixed period of work experience offered by an organisation, often during spring and summer holidays, which are often paid. You can apply for internships that are exclusive to Nottingham students through the Nottingham Internship Scheme.

Online work experience:

Short, structured online programmes that have been designed by employers to allow you to complete tasks and activities that mirror real-life tasks you might typically do.


Fixed period of work experience, normally around a year, that is integrated within your degree course and will allow you to be exposed to an industry and organisation. If your course doesn’t offer an integrated placement you can opt to take up an optional Placement Year.

Employer-led projects:

Projects and challenges that are employer-led and allow you to engage in real-world issues within their sector.

Part-time/vacation work:

Flexible and temporary work opportunities throughout the year that will allow you to earn money and develop transferrable skills.


Unpaid activity that aims to benefit a community or wider society.

You can find out more about different options, what’s on offer at Nottingham, and opportunities outside the UK on our work experience webpage.

Where can I find work experience opportunities?

– You can find a list of places to start your search for work experience on our website. Internships, placements, and graduate opportunities are also posted on MyCareer. 

– If you are looking for part-time/vacation work you can register with Unitemps, who advertise part-time, casual, and temporary jobs with local businesses.

– For volunteering opportunities, take a look through our volunteering webpage where you can find a range of options for volunteering in Nottingham, across the UK, and outside the UK.

Thinking through your options? Why not book an appointment with a careers adviser to talk through your next steps.

Posted in Graduating in 2022Work experience