Work experience returns but students must be prepared for hybrid

Jul 13, 2022 | Work experience/internships

After a scarce few years, we’re seeing a return for work experience this summer, but many opportunities are hybrid, explains ISE’s researcher Nicola Thomas.

‘Work experience’ comes in many forms including internships and work placements that are usually taken by university students as well as work experience that is usually taken by school and college students.

In ISE’s June poll we asked members what types of programmes they are running this year. We also asked whether they will be face-to-face, virtual or hybrid.

The figures below amalgamate all types of ‘work experience’ to give us an average indication of the market. We then look at the different types of work experience.

Market overview

Work experience was one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic with employers cutting opportunities by 40%.

We found that early identification activities have clearly picked up again this year as employers strengthen talent pipelines. Eleven per cent more employers are running work experience programmes in 2022 than in 2021.

Comparing our figures from last year, in 2021 60% of employers ran a work experience programme, whereas this year 71% of employers are running a programme.

Despite many businesses mandating employees’ return to in-person work, many work experience programmes continue to be online or hybrid with 37% of programmes face-to-face, 4% online and a third hybrid.


Internships are short, usually paid, work experience opportunities that take place during a university vacation.

Employers told us that the majority of them (75%) are running internships this year.

Nearly half (46%) will be run only face-to-face, with only 2% of employers running internships only virtually. However, 27% of employers will run their internship in a hybrid way. A quarter of employers are not offering an internship.

Work placements

Year in industry work placements take place between two years of a degree (usually between year 2 and year 3). This year three quarters of employers told us that they will be running this kind of programme.

Considering placements, 43% will be run only face to face, with only 1% of employers running placements only virtually. However, 31% of employers will run their placements in a hybrid way are a 25% of employers are not offering placements.

School and college work experience

Work experience programmes are commonly used in schools and further education colleges. We found that 71% of employers are running this type of programme this year.

Looking at work experience, 21% will be run only face-to-face, with 10% of employers running work experience programmes only virtually. However, 40% of employers will run their work experience in a hybrid way and 29% of employers are not offering work experience this year. 

Read more insight and data on work experience

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