Graduate jobs: An Internship is the only way to secure future

In the past being a student meant drinking as much beer as possible, staying out as late as you could and then stumbling into lectures in the morning without a care in the world, but since fees have been payable and the global economic crisis hit, students have had to consider their future.

The future that modern students have to consider is the immediate one as new statistics show that four in ten graduate roles go to those who have completed an internship. Since tuition fees amount to £9,000 per annum and the graduate market is pretty small, a lot of students are finding no way of justifying the time and money spent at university. Those that do find employment are the ones who started looking before their degree was finished.

“Ten years ago graduate recruitment organisations focused their efforts mainly on those in the last six months of a three-year degree course,” says Martin Birchall, MD of High Fliers Research, which publishes statistics based on 18,000 interviews with current students. “Now it all kicks off so much earlier.”

Recruitment consultant Kate Temple-Brown of Austin Brown Associates believes that “You should be looking in your first year at university to do a spring programme. These are run by the big firms, are large, relatively easy to get on, and tend to last for a week in the Easter holidays. Then in the autumn of your second year, it is time to apply for internships for the following summer. If you can get one, and do well, you can come back to start your final year with a job already sorted.”

Even if you’re thinking ahead, getting onto one of these schemes is pretty difficult given the level of competition in the marketplace. Applicants are often asked to complete a CV, undergo critical reasoning exams, face at least two interviews and then provide evidence of relevant work experience.

Ultimately, university is all about investing in yourself but today’s job market means that students have to look a little beyond their immediate situation and think a lot further ahead than they ever used to.

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