Placements and Internships
Information for students
As a Ravensbourne student you will be encouraged to pursue work placement opportunities. Here you’ll find information on finding a placement, different kinds of opportunities and where to seek further advice.
For students undertaking a compulsory unit please see our guide to credited placements for students and employers.
Placement, internship or work experience - what’s the difference?
An internship is a temporary position of work that has an emphasis on learning and gaining some of your first working experiences within an industry. Interns are usually students and an internship can last between one week and 12 months. The term ‘internship’ in most cases is interchangeable with ‘placement’ and, if it’s shorter in length, the term is ‘work experience’.
Benefits of work placements
Undertaking a placement can help you decide which industry sector you want to pursue a career in once you graduate. A placement will also help you to build a network of contacts who can advise and support you at the beginning and later in your career and a placement can, of course, often lead to a job offer.
The outcomes from a work placement or shorter period of work-based learning are many and varied. Through a placement you could:
- Experience a role in industry which interests you
- Use degree knowledge and skills in a work setting
- Develop the skills and technical abilities employers are looking for
- Gain a working insight into a specific professional area
- Improve your chances of securing an industry role once you graduate
- Discover new ideas and practices to incorporate into your academic studies
- Find a mentor or supervisor
- Gain a reference and endorsements for future work.
Finding a placement
Searching for a placement will require you to be resourceful and persistent. As a Ravensbourne student you are ultimately responsible for finding and securing your own placement.
There are a variety of places in which to look for placement vacancies. We recommend including the following key resources in your search:
- Advertised placements
Many work placement opportunities are advertised on websites such as Indeed or If You Could. Book an appointment with the Industry Liaison team for support sourcing advertised placement vacancies
- The Agency
The Agency is Ravensbourne’s bespoke jobs portal where industry post work opportunities ranging from full and part-time roles, temporary and freelance work, paid internships and work placements
- Ravensbourne jobs and placements Facebook group
Follow this Facebook group to receive updates on all jobs posted on the Agency and other recruitment opportunities.
- In the Frame
Sent to your student email account each Monday, In The Frame is a guide to what's happening at Ravensbourne over the coming week – including news, job opportunities updates, events, offers and competitions
- Careers and Industry Liaison team
Contact us for advice on any aspect of preparing a placement - we can help you with your initial research to supporting you while working.
Grow and develop your network by going to industry events and workshops. Trade journals, portfolio surgeries and seeking opportunities to meet industry professionals will greatly increase your chances of finding work and placement opportunities.
Skills developed through a speculative approach to finding placement opportunities is often crucial to a future career within the creative industries.
Curate a list of organisations you admire. If possible call first and ask for a specific person to address your application to, employers often find this very appealing. Then send your CV, cover letter and, if applicable, your portfolio.
When to apply
It’s never too early to start thinking about securing a placement. When and what kind of placement you undertake can depend on the sector and your subject area.
You should seek advice on placements from the careers and industry liaison team during your first year and have your CV prepared and checked.
Whilst we encourage all employers to pay the living wage, different opportunities command different expectations of pay.
It is Ravensbourne’s policy to advertise unpaid work opportunities only if they last no longer than the equivalent of four weeks, or if the employer is a registered charity.
For advice on being paid as a freelancer please see Ravensbourne’s guide to freelancing. Please also contact the careers & industry liaison team to discuss freelance rates and opportunities.
Support on placement
See our insights page on mental health and disability in the workplace for further advice on keeping well on placements and at work.