Scientist filing test tubes. Credits: Talha Hassan via Unsplash
Scientist filing test tubes. Credits: Talha Hassan via Unsplash

Skills and work experience

An Oxford education provides a fantastic platform for the future. To ensure that you stand out in an ever more competitive graduate job market, the University’s Careers Service provides you with the opportunity to boost your CV, gain practical experience, meet employers and find out about vacancies on offer.

Find your perfect job

The Oxford Careers Service’s CareerConnect platform, exclusive to Oxford University students, alumni and current research staff, lists hundreds of vacancies for volunteering, work experience, internships, and graduate opportunities. You can complete your profile to receive targeted emails about jobs, events and employers.

Develop employability skills

The Oxford University Careers Service can help you identify and develop key employability skills, and provide opportunities to develop them; including a range of skills programmes, workshops and internship opportunities.

Attend information sessions and workshops

Each term, the Careers Service hold regular talks and workshops to help you make successful applications and improve your interview technique, as well as events focusing on individual employability sectors.

Events are listed in the Careers Service term planner, regular newsletters, and a full list is available in the Events Calendar on CareerConnect.

Develop entrepreneurial skills

The Careers Service works in partnership with the University's Entrepreneurship Hub, EnSpire Oxford, to deliver hands-on programmes for students who are curious about developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

There are a range of ways to enhance your skillset through entrepreneurship: from the Future Leaders Innovation Programme (FLIP), equipping students with the skills to innovate and drive change in the future, to the Insight into Start-ups programme, aiming to inspire and equip students with the knowledge needed to start, work in and lead a new venture.

Oxford University Innovation runs a free Start-Up Incubator aimed at members of the University wanting to start or grow entrepreneur-driven ventures, with tailored support including advice and mentoring, workshops, Oxford-based work space and access to business and investment networks. The Incubator takes on three cohorts a year as well as StEP Ignite, a month-long student entrepreneurship programme that brings teams of students together every summer to develop innovative business ideas.

Practical programmes

The Careers Service also offers opportunities for you to develop your employability skills within and outside the University setting on programmes such as:

The Oxford Strategy Challenge

The Oxford Strategy Challenge provides Oxford students with real-world client work experience and development opportunities across eight key employment skills: team working, communication, initiative, creativity, planning, leadership, self-management and business awareness.

On the programme, you also have the opportunity to develop skills in working effectively as part of a remote team, managing a client relationship, collecting data under time pressure, reacting quickly to unexpected changes, and summarising and presenting your findings to a client.

The Student Consultancy

Once you have successfully completed the Oxford Strategy Challenge, you can sign up for The Student Consultancy. This 4 to 6-week programme invites past Oxford Strategy Challenge participants to address a strategic issue or business challenge for a client organisation, and allows them to gain more in-depth consulting experience.

For more programmes for Oxford students, visit the Careers Service website.

Exclusive internships and mentoring programmes

The Summer Internship Programme

The Summer Internship Programme provides access to hundreds of funded summer internship opportunities. These are offered by our international alumni, multi-national corporations, world-leading NGOs, cutting-edge research institutions, and many other organisations. Internships take place in the long vacation (between June and September), are 2-12 weeks in duration, and are advertised from the beginning of Hilary term each year.

The Micro-Internship Programme

The Micro-Internship Programme provides Oxford students with convenient, short-term learning and development opportunities. The programme offers a large volume of placements in a variety of employability sectors, and take place in the vacation periods. Micro-internships are voluntary, full time work experiences that last between two and five days.

The Promentor Programme

The Promentor Programme: An Alumni Mentoring Programme matches selected Oxford students with Oxford alumni in order to develop a mentoring partnership. First year bursary-holding students are invited to apply, with 10 students being selected as mentees each year.

The Crankstart Internship and Careers Mentoring Programmes

Crankstart Scholars are encouraged to gain work experience during their time at Oxford, and funding and support are available to help them do so. Crankstart Scholars can receive advice and guidance at any time with a view to undertaking a work placement in one of the vacations. Scholars can also apply to be a part of the Crankstart Careers Mentoring Programme, which matches selected scholars with industry professionals in their area of choice.

Paid work experience

  • Undergraduate students: Term-time employment is not permitted except under exceptional circumstances and in consultation with your tutor and senior tutor. During vacations you will be required to complete academic work and this should take priority over other commitments. However, the Careers Service can help you to find work experience placements during the vacations, with the agreement of your tutor.
  • Graduate students: If you do decide to undertake a limited amount of paid work during your studies, whether as part of your academic development or to help to support yourself financially, you must observe the University's paid work guidelines and ensure that any paid work undertaken does not adversely affect your studies or ability to complete your course on time.
  • International students: If you are studying at Oxford under the terms of a visa, refer to visa and immigration for information regarding working in the UK.

Within the paid work guidelines, the following may be possible:

  • Teaching opportunities: departments and colleges are sometimes able to offer teaching work.
  • Demonstratorships - in the experimental sciences, graduate students can sometimes work as a demonstrator in practical classes.
  • Research Assistantships - these are available from some departments and faculties.
  • Junior Deans – Advertised by colleges, these positions involve providing pastoral care to other students and being on-call day and night several times a week. Junior Deans normally receive free college accommodation, free meals and a modest annual stipend.

Other employment options include:

  • Ad-hoc work can sometimes be found by advertising your skills locally as a tutor, translator or proof-reader.
  • Part-time or seasonal work supporting the running of the University and colleges - for example, invigilating examinations, administrative work, or working in a library.
  • You can often find part-time and temporary vacancies in Oxford on the Jobs and Vacancies page, the Career Service’s online resource, CareerConnect, Daily Info and the Oxford Times.

Other possibilities

If you have recent work experience, it may be worth contacting one of your past or present employers to find out whether they are able to offer you some support. You could also consider approaching a potential employer of the future. Investigate companies or organisations working in your research area, particularly those with corporate social responsibility aims and target them. Think creatively and strategically about other bodies you may be able to proactively approach for funding. They might not necessarily advertise scholarships or bursaries, but could you make a convincing case for them to support you? Are there any foundations in your local or home community that would be willing to support you?

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