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The Micro-Internship Programme | The Careers Service The Micro-Internship Programme – Oxford University Careers Service
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What are micro-internships?

Micro-internships are short-term work experience placements, which take place at the end of each term and are full-time and voluntary. Micro-internships have previously only taken place in Oxfordshire or Greater London, but from 2018 the programme is expanding across the UK and Germany, with other key locations being Manchester, Bath/Bristol, Edinburgh and Munich. These placements are available exclusively to matriculated Oxford students.

All placements last 2-5 days and take place in 9th or 10th week. Each internship gives you the opportunity to observe and assist with a notable project. The aim is to develop your professional skills, add to your CV, and offer you the opportunity to make new professional contacts. Placements can be research-based or professional, with host organisations ranging from investment banks and consultancy firms to tech start-ups and heritage sites.

Whilst micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, host organisations must cover interns’ local travel expenses (please note that this is within the relevant city, e.g. within Oxford or London, and does not cover inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on production of receipts.

If you are an organisation looking to offer a micro-internship then please take a look at our Micro-Internships Employer Information.

What will I do?

As the focus of the placement, you will be presented with an opportunity to observe and assist with a notable project. There are a broad range of internships advertised through the programme involving many different skills, which are related to many different sectors.

The project with which you assist may be self-contained or form part of a larger, on-going project – sometimes this may even be a project begun by previous Oxford interns. It is also possible for interns to be involved with multiple related projects over the course of the placement.

Your experience will usually be accompanied by work shadowing, offering insight into the professional workings and daily life at your host organisation. This might include sitting in on meetings and participating with day-to-day tasks, or observing an assignment or process.

Examples of recent micro-internships

“The main project of my placement was working on how the future launch of the app Greater Change (a cashless donations app for the homeless) should be marketed. As part of this we carried out some social media analysis and developed various ideas and strategies to give a presentation on a variety of different ideas that could form the app launch marketing. We also took part in some practical fundraising and met with homeless people on the streets to talk about their take on the app.”  Micro-intern at Aspire, Oxford.

“I was responsible for researching and producing a report on the educational journey of refugees and developing an understanding of how to launch educational projects with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. At the end of the internship, I led and delivered a presentation followed by a Q&A with managers and directors of the company on my findings.”  Micro-intern, Whizz Education, London

“I worked with Fuel 3D’s product group to carry out an independent market research on 3D retail platforms. I learned about and delved into the company’s progress and solutions, current and potential competitors, and their solutions and patents around the 3D retail platform.”  Micro-intern, Fuel 3D Technologies, Oxfordshire

“My brief consisted of reviewing Shiplake’s current curriculum in light of 21st century educational demands. Through staff interviews, student focus groups and research, I reached conclusions regarding future changes. I compiled a 4000-word report and made a presentation to members of the Senior Management Team at the end of the week.”  Micro-intern, Shiplake College, Oxfordshire

In other internships our students have been given experience in:

  • The development of new marketing initiatives, or reviews of existing marketing strategies
  • Data collection and presentation: from creating, distributing and compiling surveys and survey responses, to the photographing and digitising of medieval manuscripts
  • Event planning
  • Fundraising and awareness campaigns
  • Product development
  • Creating a new campaign film to fit the organisation’s brief
  • Research and report writing: from investigating the ramifications of organisation relocation and restructuring, to market research
  • Programming and software development
  • Writing educational articles for a specific audience
  • Researching and creating business models
  • Conducting audits within an organisation
  • Cataloguing collections and research with archives.
Why do a micro-internship?

Internships offer the opportunity to acquire a range of employability skills such as problem-solving, self-management, presentation and communication skills, and commercial awareness (see more in our webpage about Employability Skills). These skills are highly valued by employers and the ability to demonstrate them is vital during the recruitment process. By the end of your micro-internship you will have achieved tangible outcomes which can be then be translated as evidence for exhibiting certain attributes – particularly on CVs, cover letters and application forms, and in interviews.

The additional significant benefits of micro-internships include:

  • Convenience – all micro-internships last 2-5 days and take place during 9th or 10th week, so you can gain work experience even if you have a busy schedule.
  • Accessibility – The majority of micro-internships are based in Oxfordshire (most of these within Oxford) and Greater London. Many students return to various parts of the UK during vacation, so we are currently expanding the programme to other UK cities. We request that placements are easily accessible by public transport.
  • Exploration – micro-internships allow you to explore career options, gain insight into a sector that is new to you, or experience an area outside of your academic field.
  • Insight – a micro-internship will give you a concise insight into a particular sector or type of organisation. If you are considering pursuing a career in a certain sector, a micro-internship is a great way of helping you to decide if you might like to pursue it further.
  • Variety – because placements are both short and voluntary, a great variety of different organisations are able to offer placements through the programme, many of which would not ordinarily be in a position to support interns – particularly start-ups and charities.
  • Contacts – placements provide a fantastic opportunity to network with professionals in your chosen field, with some micro-internships leading to further work experience or career opportunities.

Feedback from past micro-interns

“I found the project to be very engaging and informative, particularly researching new industries and reporting my findings. It was extremely beneficial to develop and utilise skills that otherwise would not have been covered on my academic course.”  3rd year MEng Engineering Science, micro-intern with MeVitae

“I think the real benefit to me has been the experience of working in a start-up and getting acquainted with the working culture of a company that is still working out how everything functions. I really enjoyed this because it meant that I wasn’t expected to perfectly mesh into a pre-existing structure, but rather my role was largely determined by what I could contribute.”  MPhil General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, micro-intern with Cycle.land

“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it opened my eyes about the academic research possibilities in the heritage sector. It confirmed my interest in combining my degree (History) with my future career path and gave me insight into the National Trust.”  MSt British and European History 1500-Present, micro-intern with the University of Oxford and National Trust

“The project has helped me to understand that I would like to go into a career that involves a lot of written communication. Undertaking the internship helped to improve my confidence because I began to understand that I am good in this area and have the talents to pursue it.”  2nd year BA Geography, micro-intern with Right for Education

“This internship was a very special experience. It was certainly a unique opportunity that allowed me to work with collections that I otherwise would have never had access to. Simply being able to handle and get to learn about such beautiful silver was incredible, but the host organisation also went out of their way to make sure that I got the most out of the week.”  DPhil Classical Archaeology, micro-intern with St John’s College

“The micro-internship was a very positive experience, involving a well-planned programme and an interesting and engaging project. The staff were friendly and welcoming, creating a working environment in which I felt comfortable and productive. The experience has reinforced my interest in teaching as a possible career, as it provided insight into question setting, lesson planning and ways to guide students through the mathematical problem-solving process.”  2nd year MMath Mathematics and Statistics, micro-intern with Whizz Education

Applying for a micro-internship and Trinity term 2018 opportunities

Trinity term 2018 micro-internships and sector lists

Our third round micro-internships are currently live on CareerConnect and the deadline is midday, Monday 28 May 2018. To browse all opportunities, please see our third round MIP list. This term we have also updated our Employer Feedback on Student Micro-Internship Applications document, with key advice from recent micro-internship hosts.

For the third round, students are permitted to make one additional application – so if you have already applied twice this term you can apply once more!

When to apply (each term)

  • Placements advertised to students: from 0th Week
  • Application deadline: please note, for Trinity term 2018, the deadline will be Thursday of 2nd week (midday, 3rd May) due to May bank holidays
  • Applications sent to placement hosts for review, and the Internship Office communicates hosts’ decisions to applicants: from 3rd Week
  • First round applicants are informed of their application outcome: by Monday 5th week
  • Some placements may seek further applicants, and these are advertised in our second batch: Monday 5th week
  • Application deadline for second batch: midday, Monday 6th week
  • All second round applications informed of outcome: by Wednesday 7th week.

Sign up to our Internship Alerts mailing list in order to stay updated about the Micro-Internship Programme each term.

Where to apply

Each term’s micro-internships are advertised on CareerConnect.

Once logged into CareerConnect go to Search & Apply under the Internship Office and Skills Programmes tab, and then select ‘The Micro-Internship Programme’ from the Programme drop-down on the Refine search toolbar (on the left side of the page) in order to identify and view all opportunities currently available.

See p16-20 in our comprehensive Guide to using CareerConnect for information on searching and applying for micro-internships.

Micro-internships are also advertised via our Internship Alerts mailing list, on our Facebook page, the Careers Service Twitter, in the weekly Careers Service e-newsletter, and on the Careers Service blog. Each term, the Internship Office publishes sector and location lists to help students search for placements.

How to apply

You may apply for two micro-internships per term, though you may only accept one placement offer. Please note that only matriculated Oxford students are eligible to apply. If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

You can apply to your micro-internship of choice by clicking ‘Apply Now’ on the respective vacancy page on CareerConnect, and following the instructions provided. You will be required to upload a file of a one-page CV and write a 300-word personal statement in the application form. Your CV can be a pdf file or a Word document. Please do not use Pages files as these cannot be accessed on the system. For CVs or personal statements longer than the application requirement, the Internship Office reserves the right to reduce them accordingly (e.g. the second page of a two-page CV will be deleted) without notifying the student.

Please note that we are unable to accept late applications or applications sent by email. Students intending to apply for the programme should therefore make their applications before midday on the day of the deadline. We strongly advise that you make your application well in advance of the deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has been submitted successfully and that you have received an automatic confirmation email. If you have not received a confirmation email for each application within three hours of submitting, or if you are experiencing any other technical problems, please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk immediately so that we can assist during working hours.

Application support

To see the full range of support on offer to assist you with your application, please download our Application Support Document. Please also see our Employer Feedback on Student Micro-Internship Applications, which contains useful advice from recent micro-internship hosts.

Don’t forget that the Internship Office runs Application Support Sessions for applicants to our internship programmes, including the Micro-Internship Programme. These sessions mostly take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Careers Service during the application period. These sessions are 15-minute 1:1 appointments and must be booked via CareerConnect (please see the Events tab).

Sign up to the Internship Alerts mailing list or follow the Careers Service blog in order to receive each term’s Application Support Session schedule.

If you would like further support with your application, we recommend taking a look at our website for guidance on CVs and Cover Letters. You can also make an appointment with a Careers Adviser.

What happens then?

Once the deadline has passed, the Internship Office sends all applications to hosts for selection, although does not take part in the selection itself. Hosts may contact applicants for interviews or telephone calls, so please do ensure that you regularly check your emails and where possible, provide a telephone number with a voicemail.

Once hosts have made their decisions, the Internship Office will let all students know of the outcome of their application. Successful candidates have two days to make their decision (once they have heard back from all applications). Students may only accept one micro-internship offer per term. Successful candidates will then be connected with their host so arrangements can be made prior to the placement week. Some hosts choose to arrange a meeting or induction prior to the micro-internship – this is often beneficial to both host and intern, as it gives a chance to discuss the project and meet colleagues.

In 8th week, the Internship Office hosts ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’, an event to explore and discuss how students can maximise their opportunities during a placement. This is particularly helpful for micro-interns, although all students are welcome to attend. Full details and booking are on CareerConnect.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be paid?

Micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, although hosts must cover the intern’s local travel expenses (please note that this is within the relevant city, e.g. within Oxford or London, and does not cover inter-city travel) and lunch expenses on submission of receipts. Students submit receipts directly to the employer for reimbursement during their placement. Hosts are unable to reimburse any other expenses unless explicitly stated in the micro-internship advert.

If you think you will be unable to take up a placement for financial reasons please let us know by emailing micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

Is accommodation provided?

Accommodation is not provided through the programme. It is the responsibility of applicants to arrange, and cover the cost of, their own accommodation. We strongly recommend that you research this before applying. 

For Oxford-based placements, if you live in college accommodation we recommend that you approach your college with a request for a 9th or 10th week extension as soon as you apply for your micro-internship. See below for further information about accommodation. As students only have two days to accept or decline micro-internship offers, we cannot hold offers whilst students wait to hear from their college.

On what days will the micro-internship take place?

Micro-internships take place each term during 9th or 10th week, and last between two and five days. Before applying for a micro-internship you should ensure that you will be available for the entire duration of the placement. The duration of the placement, and the days on which it takes place, are decided by the host organisation. These are usually specified upfront but if you have any further queries you can email micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

How many hours per day will I work?

Usually, micro-internships are full-time hours (for example, but not limited to 9am-5pm) each day, although this is decided by the host and will be communicated to you before your placement. Some hosts offer flexible working hours and this is usually stated in the advert. Therefore, please ensure before applying that you are available full time during the placement week.

I am unable to intern for one day during the placement week. Can I still apply?

Students are expected to undertake a micro-internship as any other professional placement. Students must be available for the entire placement week so are unable to apply if they cannot commit to the week. However, if flexible dates are specified in the advert, you may state your date preferences in your application. Any concerns or queries about dates can be emailed to micro-internship@careers.ox.ac.uk.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any current, matriculated University of Oxford student (undergraduate or postgraduate) may apply for a micro-internship. Visiting students are unable to apply.

MBA and EMBA students from the Said Business School are unable to apply; we would encourage those students to access the Said Business School Careers Service.

How many times can I apply?

You can apply to two different micro-internships per term, though you may only accept one placement offer per term.

How many micro-internship offers can I accept?

Students are permitted to accept one micro-internship placement per term. To ensure fairness and accessibility for all students across the programme, students are not permitted to accept two offers if successful with both applications.

How competitive are micro-internships?

This question is the most frequently asked during our Application Support Sessions. We encourage students not to be deterred from applying to ‘popular’ placements – if you think a certain micro-internship is ideal for you, we encourage you to apply! Micro-internships are a great way to explore and a taster of something new. Instead of being concerned with the number of applicants, it’s your chance to work on your application to make it stand out. We cannot determine how many applications a placement will receive: some places are competitive, others less so. If you are not successful on one occasion, it is a perfect chance to develop your application and skills for the next time.

Is there anything I can do before my placement?

Absolutely! Employers appreciate knowledge of their organisation, so it’s always best to do research the organisation and role beforehand. Once you have been connected with your host, you are able to ask for further details of what is expected in the week, particularly helpful if you need to brush up on a few skills beforehand. We recommend that you attend ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’, which usually takes place in 8th week – please check full details on CareerConnect.

It is also important to ensure that practicalities such as travel and accommodation are arranged in advance of the internship, and you may find other sections of this webpage useful.

Am I able to accept further work experience with my host after the micro-internship?

The Internship Office greatly encourages a connection between students and hosts, including any future internships, full-time or part-time positions, and students are more than welcome to accept further opportunities.

Should your host organisation offer a further opportunity, we recommend that you read our Internship Best Practice webpage, and bear in mind our Internship Office Policy on Voluntary Placements, below:

Through the Micro-Internship Programme, the Internship Office facilitates voluntary work experience placements with reimbursement of local travel and lunch expenses on submission of receipts. Due to the voluntary nature of micro-internships, their maximum duration is 5 days. If, following the micro-internship, the hosts wish to engage interns to undertake work or undertake a full internship, this arrangement should be made directly between hosts and interns. Hosts should remunerate students at the minimum wage or above for this separate arrangement; the UK Government webpages provided useful information on minimum wage policy and employment rights for interns.

My question is not answered here!

If you have a question to which you cannot find the answer, email us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

To keep updated with the launch of vacancies and deadlines for the submission of applications, make sure you follow the Careers Service blog, sign up to our Internship Alerts mailing list, and follow us on Facebook.

Accommodation during micro-internships

For Oxford placements, if you live in University-maintained accommodation we suggest that you approach your college as soon as you apply for a micro-internship to see if you will be able to secure an extension for 9th or 10th week. Micro-internship offers cannot be held so please do research accommodation in advance. We can provide a letter of support to your college if necessary: please contact us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

If you are unable to obtain an extension in college, or if your placement is in another city, you might consider some of the following options:

  • Staying with friends or family
  • Circulating a request for a spare room via your JCR/MCR mailing list, president or meetings – many students who live in house- and flat-shares outside of college will have rooms available in Oxford during the holidays
  • Asking friends at other Oxford colleges to book a guest room for you
  • Approaching the accommodation offices of other Oxford colleges directly
  • If outside Oxford, approaching the accommodation offices of other universities directly
  • Facebook groups like OxGrad Housing can be useful for finding or requesting rooms in Oxford
  • Websites such as Airbnb or Spareroom
  • YHA Oxford has private rooms from £55, and there are many cheap hostels and hotels across London and other cities.

Please note that micro-internship hosts are unable to help with accommodation unless specifically stated otherwise.

If you require extra funding for your micro-internship to cover travel or accommodation costs (internship hosts can only reimburse within the relevant city travel and lunch on submission of receipts), we recommend that you approach your college as they may have travel grants or bursaries available. If you think you may be unable to undertake your placement due to financial or accommodation issues, please contact us as soon as possible (micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk) and we will try to help.

This information was last updated on 11 June 2018.
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Recent blogs about The Micro-Internship Programme

Civil Service Fast Stream Offer-holders panel: June 2018

Blogged by James Salas on 13/07/2018.

In 6th week Trinity Term, the Careers Service invited five Finalist who all held offers for the UK Civil Service (3x Fast Streamers; +1 Direct entry; +1 HMT Graduate programme) to talk about their experiences in the application and interview process, including their attendance of numerous assessment centres:

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The Careers Service has a comprehensive written account of this presentation that is available to current students through the Careers Service’s Interview Database.

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If you are well prepared, you should be able to navigate the early stages before term starts, which will mean you have ample time to prepare for each new phase. You can use the account of our offer-holders panel together with our Government and Public Sector briefing paper to get your bearings and make a start with your preparations. And remember, support from the Careers Service is available throughout the summer, wherever you are.

*Alumni cannot access our interview database. Any recent alumni considering applications to the Civil Service can request their own copy of the panel session by writing to reception@careers.ox.ac.uk with details of their College, Oxford Degree course and their year of completion.

Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2018

Posted on behalf of Haymarket Media. Blogged by Elleanor Thornton on 05/07/2018.

Aged between 17 and 25 and want to kick-start your career in the automotive industry?

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Visit the website and enter today.

Terms and conditions apply. See website for details.

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Posted on behalf of Daniel Marks. Blogged by Lara Hayward on 04/07/2018.

THE DANIEL MARKS PLANNING ACADEMY 2018

Daniel Marks is a leader in advertising recruitment and we are keen to help our clients develop and nurture the next generation of strategic thinkers. We recognise that it is incredibly hard for young planners to get a start in the industry. The Daniel Marks Planning Academy represents a unique opportunity to get your foot through the door at some of the best creative advertising agencies in the world.

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Further details on the Planning Academy initiative and how to apply can be found at www.danielmarks.com/planners.

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The Internship Office is offering current undergraduates the opportunity to apply for a bursary of up to £2000 courtesy of the Victor and William Fung Foundation. The awards are open to students who have been offered an unpaid or low paid internship in China and Hong Kong for summer 2018. The bursaries are also available for internships secured outside of the Summer Internship Programme.

Please note that you can only receive one scholarship from the Victor & William Fung Foundation during your time at Oxford. If, for example, you are studying BA Chinese and have received a scholarship from the foundation previously, you will not be eligible again.

Eligible placements must commence before September 1st 2018.

To apply, please fill in the funding application form, and email it to stacey.phillington@careers.ox.ac.uk

The application deadline is midnight Sunday 1st July 2018. Please note that there is a short processing timeframe for the funds to be dispersed for the summer. Successful candidates will be informed on Monday 2nd July, and we would request that bank details are supplied by midday on Tuesday July 3rd.

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