With the Covid-19 pandemic causing many companies in the UK to shut down or work remotely, a large number of students are worried about finding work placements amid the situation.
The Institute of Student Employers has revealed that about 23 percent of employers will cut apprenticeships and internship programmes later this year.
Apart from this, students who are due to graduate in 2020 also have concerns about getting jobs, as employers are finding it difficult to financially cope with the lockdown.
The Breaker spoke to some students from Bournemouth University, who are currently searching for work placements. Feedback indicated that a majority of respondents are still applying to companies with a positive spirit about getting the placement role in time.
Listen to Bournemouth University journalism student, Sian Morris, narrating her experience on the placement journey:
However, various companies are still offering placement opportunities for students, who may still need to undergo internships during these times.
Companies have either scrapped their summer internships for this year or adapted to a virtual mentoring programme for a fixed period of time.
An example for this is the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which recently made alterations to the running of its internship programme. They now allow students to still undergo the usual paid industrial placements virtually.
“I am very pleased we are able to offer these opportunities to our interns and apprentices during what is a very difficult time,” Chief Executive of RBS Alison Rose said.
Similar to this, the internationally operating accountancy firm ‘Deloitte’ scrapped its summer internship scheme in the UK for this year due to financial reasons. The firm, however, made an offer of £500 alongside a four-week virtual training programme to affected candidates.
A statement by the career service of Bournemouth University suggests that since work placements are now becoming an online experience, “this could mean that more places are available.”
What are students doing in the meantime?
In spite of the hustle and bustle of finding work placements, there have been several reports of students engaging in volunteering opportunities – particularly in the health sector.
In a blog post by Bournemouth University, third-year Adult Nursing student Daniel Fry narrates his decision to engage in the six months paid placement with the National Health Service (NHS). This was due to a demand for more frontline workers.
Daniel writes, “I chose to take this extraordinary opportunity to join the NHS frontline during this uncertain time because this is what I have been working towards and feel passionate about”.