Insight Days and Spring Week Internships
Our ultimate guide to short-term work experience
Did you know that many of the UK's best employers offer work experience for 1st and 2nd year university students?
Insight days and spring week internships are essentially mini internships where you can find out more about a company, before committing to a full internship or placement.
Keep reading to learn more about these schemes, where to find them and how to apply:
What are insight days?
An insight day is a short period of work experience designed to give you an insight into life at a particular company. Aimed at first and second year students, they typically last between one to ten days and take place during the university holidays.
Insight days can be found in industries like Accountancy, Investment Banking, Engineering, Finance and Law. Just like Snoop Dogg, AKA Snoopzilla, these schemes have various aliases. Depending on which industry or employer you're applying for, you might hear them described as insight days, vacation schemes or first year internships.
Part open day, part work experience; they are structured to give you plenty of opportunities to meet people across the company and decide whether a role or industry is right for you.
You can expect the likes of:
Skills and job application workshops
Networking opportunities with graduates and employees
Presentations about the company and their industry
FREE LUNCH (hopefully bagels)
Search for Insight Days & Spring Week Internships
What are spring week internships?
Spring week internships, or insight weeks, tend to run for one to two weeks during the Easter holidays. Primarily found in the world of finance, they are your golden ticket to a career with one of the world's top banks.
Like Willy Wonka seeking his successor, banks use these short schemes to find talented first years for their internship and even graduate programmes.
Typical activities during a spring week include:
An introduction to the bank and their work
Social and networking events with employees at all levels
Shadowing current graduates or experienced professionals
CV workshops and skills sessions to help you apply
In this video, UCL graduate Gavra Nwamadi explains why spring weeks are so important for first year students...
"91% of students would recommend their insight scheme to a friend!" Based on review data from RateMyPlacement.co.uk
What are the benefits of insight schemes?
Many of the UK's biggest and brightest companies offer insight days and spring week internships to scout for future talent. So if you show you've got what it takes, you could be fast-tracked onto one of their internship, placement or even graduate programmes.
With an average of 91 applicants for every graduate job, those with a first year internship on their CV are much more likely to secure a role in the future.
Other benefits include:
Gaining an understanding of a company's culture and values
Learning how a particular industry operates
Collaborating with others and building professional networks
Building the skills employers want
Keep reading to learn more about these schemes, where to find them and how to apply...
Are insight schemes paid?
This really depends on the scheme's length and the company you're working for. You will almost always be paid for insight schemes that last a week or longer.
If you attend an insight day you're unlikely to be paid, but you should at least have your travel costs reimbursed. (Sandwiches may also be provided… and who doesn't love sandwiches?)
You can find out how well an employer pays by searching for them in our reviews. In each review, students answered ‘Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?'.
How and When to Apply
Applying for an insight scheme is very similar to applying for an internship, placement or even just a normal job. You'll begin by filling out an application form, complete with CV and cover letter, before progressing to a phone, video or face-to-face interview.
If you're applying for an insight day the process will end there. Schemes lasting more than a few days, however, may also include online tests and assessment centres.
Barclays, for instance, gets their spring week applicants to tackle realistic business scenarios in order to assess their strengths, values and cognitive abilities.
Turn your applications into smash hits with these how-to guides:
Most first year internships are advertised between September and March. However, it's not unusual for the best employers to receive thousands of applications, and because of this they won't wait until the deadline to shortlist candidates.
So the earlier you apply, the better your chances will be of securing a scheme. And when we say early, we mean it. Aim to get your applications in before the Christmas holidays so that you have a place before exams and deadlines hit.
Top insight days and spring week internships
Here are some of the best employers who offer these magical first year internships:
Spring into Deloitte
Duration: Three days
For: First and second year students
Find out what it's really like to work in Professional Services, for one of the Big Four.
Featuring business games and skills sessions, debate and discovery, Deloitte's insight days are fun but intense. You'll learn more about the people you'll work with, the sort of work you'll do and the opportunities on offer.
Burges Salmon Open Days
Duration: One day
For: All students
Many top law firms open their insight days to first year students, giving them a chance to meet partners, trainees and the graduate recruitment team before securing a vacation scheme.
Take Bristol-based firm Burges Salmon. They strongly recommend attending one of their insight days if you plan on applying for their vacation scheme or training contract.
Those who attend will get a deeper insight into the firm through talks from their lawyers, networking with trainee solicitors, group workshops and exclusive application advice.
Bank of America Spring Insight Programme
Duration: One week
For: First and second year students
This spring week will give you a head start by introducing you to the different careers available in an investment bank; from Corporate Banking to Sales & Trading.
You'll learn more about Bank of America and the work they do, gain industry-relevant skills, and be first in line for a place on their summer internship programme.
Barclays Discovery Programme
Duration: Two days
For: First year students
An opportunity for students from underrepresented groups to learn about a career at Barclays and be assessed for their summer internships - before anyone else.
Featuring business workshops, soft skill training and interview preparation, this insight programme is your passport to the business world.
Places for spring week internships are given on a first come, first served basis, so we strongly suggest getting your application in ASAP to secure yours.
Read our guide to Bank Internships for more advice on breaking into this competitive industry.