Offering a placement through The Summer Internship Programme is a great way to help kickstart the career of an Oxford University student and give them invaluable work experience.
Oxford University students are bright, inquisitive, analytical, talented, hard working, energetic and ambitious and can be a huge asset to your organisation. In return the intern is exposed to new skills and work in a specific industry sector.
Internships can take place in an organisation of any shape or size from small start-up to multinational, and in any industry from tech to non-profit, and finance to film. Placements can be anywhere in the world and take place either remotely or in-person at your premises.
The programme is advertised through the Careers Service online platform CareerConnect. With more than 24,000 students signing up every year the internship ads get a huge amount of engagement. For further details on how to offer an internship and more detailed FAQs head to the Careers Service website:
HOST: POLO Stories, Miguel A. San Joaquin (Wolfson College, 2002)
In 2022, POLO Stories offered three internships in Mozambique, India and Nepal to Oxford University students through the Summer Internship Programme.
Founder and CEO of POLO Stories, Miguel A. San Joaquin, shares details of his organisation's experience with the programme.
INTERN at POLO Stories: Ariana Rubio, BA English Language & Literature, Second Year Undergraduate
I really enjoyed the experience. It was very nice working with the other interns, and the CEO was amazing. When writing articles, I used a different style of writing than my usual academic essays, and that was an interesting intellectual exercise.
HOST: IQVIA (University College)
The Summer Internship programme gives us the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and knowledgeable students from Oxford University who bring genuine value to our activities with new ideas and energy. It is a genuine pleasure to introduce them to our company and work in the knowledge that they will get a great deal from it but also add real value to our work in a short space of time.
Practical advice to new employers: Think through what you want the interns to do well in advance of the internship. In the months running up to the internship we come up with a long list of potential projects. We then describe each of the projects to the interns and try to match them to projects they are interested in wherever possible - this makes them more motivated and gives them greater ownership. A programme of interviews with people from different functions around the organisation is very much appreciated by the interns as it gives them the chance to learn about the company and think about future potential roles.
INTERN at IQVIA : Mbiochem in molecular and cellular biochemistry, Third Year Undergraduate (of a four year course)
Over the 10 weeks, I have gained a strong understanding of the complex workings of the pharmaceutical industry, and this has been paired with technical data analysis skills, as well as useful training in how to look at data trends in a strategic way in order to produce meaningful insights.
HOST: Cocoa Runners (Magdalen College)
As always, the calibre of candidates was high, and it was challenging to narrow down who would be the best fit for us. But we were very happy with the performance of our interns, and how enthusiastically they threw themselves into their roles. What's been really lovely is how much self-starting and initiative our interns have shown. The process has been very smooth for us, as an employer, and the service of the Internship Office has been very helpful in providing guidance and resources.
INTERN at Cocoa Runners: MSt English (1900-present), Masters-level student (Magdalen College)
During my internship I was able to see how my work in communications and editing contributed to the overall plan and work of the company as a whole. It really made me see that my skills in writing and editing are valuable and helped me understand how they could be used.
HOST: John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science – CERN, Geneva (Oriel College)
We've been working with the Summer Internship Programme since 2014 and have been delighted to provide opportunities for wonderfully talented students to participate in our research group based at CERN. It's a win-win: the students are exposed to particle accelerator research at the cutting edge, and they always impress us by developing innovative technical solutions to tough challenges. Many of our interns are inspired to go on to do a PhD either in the UK or overseas - it's a real pleasure to meet them at workshops or conferences and have them recall their time spent with us.
INTERN at Brass for Africa: Charlotte Grayson, BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Final year undergraduate
I gained a lot and learned a great deal about NGOs. It was really special to be surrounded by people from such diverse backgrounds all passionate about making the lives of children and young people better. Seeing first-hand the difference Brass for Africa is making to communities and individuals was really great. The experience has informed the direction of my study – I am now taking courses in development and global health as a result. I am also more inclined to consider working for an NGO in the future.
HOST: Lichfield Cathedral, The Revd Canon Dr Gregory Platten (Worcester, 1997)
We were so delighted to be able to participate in this programme. We were even more delighted when we were granted funding from the scheme, Matilda, who was our intern, really expedited our work. It was a very good experience.
INTERN: Matilda Houston-Brown (Lincoln, 2019)
My six weeks at Lichfield were amazing. The experience I gained was incredibly insightful and exciting. Moving from a period of time where the majority of my experience with manuscripts and early printed texts was virtual, my time at Lichfield completely transformed my CV and allowed me to apply my knowledge. It will vastly improve my master’s applications and any future research career.