From education to employment

UK’s largest careers initiative opens to school-age students for the first time

@BrightNetwork, the leading platform that unites the next generation of bright talent with global employers and fast growth businesses, today reopens its popular Internship Experience UK programme – the nation’s largest virtual internship experience.

Internship Experience UK will offer three-day virtual experiences for all students and graduates across the country to help them gain skills, boost employability and build their network, as graduates face a record shortage of career opportunities and long-term youth unemployment hits a five-year high.

Participants will benefit from direct access to more than 50 world-leading employers such as Alpha FMC, Blackstone, Bloomberg, Clyde & Co, Deutsche Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, EY, Goldman Sachs, Google, J.P. Morgan, Lloyd’s of London, Macquarie, Nestle, PwC, Teach First, Virgin Media and Vodafone, who will all be delivering training. 

Internship Experience UK sees over 200+ partner organisations, including the Department for Work and Pensions and over 75 of the UK’s leading universities, come together to provide a direct and practical response to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on young people starting their careers. The programme aims to support 150,000+ young people who are at university or graduating this year, who will disproportionately bear the economic brunt of the virus.

For the first time, Bright Network is also offering a dedicated internship experience for all 16 and 17 year olds in the UK during the summer holidays, with tailored content for those still at school.

Last year’s Internship Experience UK delivered 1M+ hours of online careers learning in response to the pandemic and saw 75,000 students and recent graduates participate in the programme, 59% of whom were female and 40% the first in their family to go to university. Thousands of those who completed the programme secured internships and jobs following the experience, at employers including Goldman Sachs, P&G and PwC.

Bright Network’s recent report, What Do Graduates Want 2021/2022? revealed an historic drop in confidence and a continued squeeze on graduate opportunities as a result of COVID-19.

The survey of over 15,000 students found that a third (32%) of all students and recent graduates have had applications and roles cancelled or put on pause due to the virus, with a quarter (24%) now applying to at least 16 positions in order to secure a place on an internship, insight day or graduate programme.

Those with a private education background were significantly more likely to have gained access to critical internship experience that can often lead to highly-paid graduate jobs: over a third (35%) of privately educated graduates have participated in internships during university, but less than a quarter (23%) of state-educated graduates.

Just 39% of graduates are now confident about securing a grad role, dropping from almost half (49%) before the pandemic struck.

Government figures shows that 2021 graduates will be entering the workplace at a challenging time of record unemployment for young people: ONS figures show under 25s accounted for 54% of the 813,000 payroll jobs lost in the UK in the year to March. The rate of youth unemployment is now at a five-year high, and continues to rise despite falling for every other age group.

James Uffindell, Founder & CEO of Bright Network, commented:

“Recent graduates and university students continue to face huge challenges due to the economic toll of three lockdowns and insecurity about when the pandemic will end. This year’s graduates will be joining the workforce at a time that continues to be highly uncertain, for both young people and employers, and it’s imperative we do everything possible to ensure all graduates have access to the right career opportunities.

“With this in mind, we’re delighted to be rolling out Internship Experience UK for a second year following a very positive response to last year’s programme, and hope this year’s intake enjoy the chance to acquire work-critical skills to help them ease into the graduate job market. Given the expected long tail impact of the pandemic, we’re also pleased to be providing our first intake of school students with the headstart they need to being upskilling for the workforce.” 

Tony Hyland, Senior National Account Manager, Department for Work and Pensions, commented:

“We at DWP are delighted to work in partnership with Bright Network and it’s great news they are running Internship Experience UK again this summer after the huge impact it had last year. It’s a vital time to support graduates with opportunities to build employability skills and meet leading employers, preparing them for their early career, and the prospect of fulfilling sustainable careers.”

Anne Wilson, Head of Careers at University of Warwick, commented:

“During the pandemic, when so many students have been unable to access in-person internships, Bright Network have provided much-needed and high-quality virtual opportunities that students have found extremely valuable. They have been provided with an insight into corporate working life with top recruiters that would otherwise not have been possible. Filling this much-needed gap at this challenging time has been extremely beneficial for so many of our students.”

Free and open to everyone aged 16 and over in the UK, Bright Network’s Internship Experience UK is designed to support those looking for future career opportunities across eight core sectors.

Applications are now open, with the programme running throughout June and July.


Bright Network’s mission is to connect the next generation the insights, advice and opportunities to succeed as the workforce of tomorrow. 

Its bespoke technology platform connects ambitious young people from all backgrounds with the best career opportunities. Through empowering members with the tools, advice and insights they need to access brilliant opportunities at global companies, Bright Network ensures that the next generation finds the future it deserves, and businesses can identify the most powerful pipeline of tomorrow’s diverse and high quality talent.

Bright Network is using data and technology to innovate how it matches its community of 400,000+ members with over 300+ firms. This includes leading organisations like Goldman Sachs, EY, PwC and Teach First as well as ambitious and high growth scale-ups like G Network. 

Source: Survey conducted by Bright Network between 8th January and 2nd February 2021 among 15,185 Bright Network members.

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