What is Work Experience?
Various things are commonly covered by the term “work experience”, and different organisations use the terms in different ways. The common types include:
- Gap Year Placements
- Part-Time Work and Vacation Jobs
- Work Experience
- Work shadowing
Internships are normally advertised, organised schemes, which last a few weeks or a few months in vacation time. They can be paid or unpaid, depending on the sector. Investment banking and management consultancy, for example, normally pay generous salaries, whereas PR and Media are likely to be unpaid.
GAP YEAR PLACEMENTS
Typically one year in length, and often abroad. These tend to involve a cost to you, although you may get grants from your college or department if it is part of your course.
PART-TIME WORK AND VACATION JOBS
With three to four months over the summer, and six weeks at Christmas and Easter, there’s plenty of opportunity to work during Oxford’s vacations. It may also be possible to get some part-time work during term, though the university officially discourages this.
Confusingly, “work experience” is also commonly used to mean an unadvertised opportunity, which you have organised yourself. These tend to be shorter than internships, and are less likely to be paid.
There are many opportunities to help charities while at Oxford. Voluntary work could be a couple of hours a week, or several weeks during a vacation.
Work shadowing normally lasts one or two days, where you observe a particular employee and learn about their job and the organisation. These are typically opportunities you have organised yourself, and are always unpaid.