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Paid Work Placements – Internship, Graduateship & Traineeship

By January 14, 2023September 7th, 2023No Comments
Paid Work Placements – Internship, Graduateship & Traineeship

Paid work placements offer a great opportunity to get some experience of the working world, applying your studies to a professional setting and adds to your CV considerably. has great information – You can search Internships/ Graduate programmes opportunities and also get lots of tips and advice.

A useful Irish Times article to help get you started in figuring out whether an internship or graduate programme is the best fit for you?!

Different types of paid work experience

  • Internship
  • Graduate Programme
  • Professional Apprenticeships
  • Traineeship
  • Opportunities Abroad

If you have any questions about studying in paid work experience, you can chat online to a trained Youth Information Officer or leave us a message and we can get back to you.

Graduate Programme

  • Structured graduate opportunities usually offered by large employers.
  • Open to final year or postgraduate students.
  • The application is in the final year. don’t wait until the summer as it will be too late!
  • The duration of a graduate programme is often 18-24 months,
  • You may rotate around different functions of the company or may stay in one.
  • Provide access to targeted training and development opportunities, mentoring support.

Information adapted from TUD Graduate programmes.  It also provides links and hints on where you might find graduate programme. has a section where you can search for Graduate Programmeopportunities.


  • Aimed at final year students, or college graduates, outside of term time, (during holidays or after graduation).
  • Can be summer or 6 months or longer.
  • Interns are required to be appropriately compensated for their work. Typically €1,500 a month.
  • Some industries such as banking, accountancy expect their employees to have done some sort of internship or sector-relevant experience before applying for a ‘real’ job with them.

Information adapted from internships section. has a section where you can search for Internships opportunities.

Where to start to find out more

Good to Know! – Start looking early!! Many organisations start their applications for Graduate Programmes/ Internships many months in advance e.g. Application for summer internships often have a application deadline of January.

Start with conversation with Career Office in University, most universities have their own specific programmes to support internships & graduate programmes.

  1. e.g. UCD has a day dedicated to this where all the key companies offering internships/ graduate programmes came in and had stands and the students could meet them directly on that particular day.
  2. Most have section on their websites specifically relating to Internships/ Graduate programmes – so that would be a good starting point.

Gradireland: register and complete the careers report. Through this, jobs information will be tailored for your qualifications and to the opportunities. They also list Internship posts or Graduate Programme opportunities on their website.

Contact the main body over the particular sector you are interested in e.g.Irish Institute of Engineers to see if they have any specific information to clue students in on   the process & pitfalls – they have a space on their website below ‘to ask a question’.  The can advise her what to look out for that relates to her career area e.g. Engineering. – there is a specific students section there on that website.

Well-established routes into internship/ graduate programme; Investment banking, consultancy, accountancy, finance and IT have well-established route into internship, regularly leading onto graduate recruitment.

General employment websites like, Linked-in and Glasshouse,  for example – have a list of internship opportunities. The process of application and uploading CV would be similar to applying for a job.  The main thing would be to find the appropriate sector as there are internships in all types of career areas.

When / how to apply

  • Many companies operating established internship programmes have opening and closing dates like a regular job.
  • Internship programmes are recruited for throughout the year but especially in January and February.
  • For others, internships can be arranged on a more informal basis. It’s good to apply speculatively to a company that you want to work with, a well put together proposal or application will at least put you on their radar for any further openings

Professional Apprenticeships:

NFQ Level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries in areas as diverse as; financial services, accounting, medical devices, software development etc.  Professional bodies such as Accounting Technicians of Ireland/ Insurance Practitioners of Ireland have programmes to link you to the employers and relevant academic institutes.

Steps to becoming a Professional Apprentice

  • Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods – Contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.
  • Join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives
  • Check if you have achieved the necessary entry requirements – There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job. The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.
  • Check out


A Traineeship combines learning in the classroom and experience in the workplace to improve employment outcomes for participants and increase retention and productivity in the sector.

Partner Employers provide work-based learning opportunities and collaborate with Education and Training Boards (ETBs) on existing and new programmes to identify skills gaps in different sectors and industries.

Over 75 programmes are available nationally in a range of industries with new Traineeships being developed on an ongoing basis by ETBs. You’ll find a list of Traineeships below.


  • Lead to an award at NFQ Levels 4-6, or equivalent.
  • Are between 6-20 months in duration.
  • Include at least 30% of learning on-the-job.
  • Combine transversal and technical skills development.
  • Are designed for flexible delivery – online, face-to-face, blended learning.
  • Provide open access to prospective trainees, unemployed people may be eligible for income support.
  • Respond to an identified industry skills need.

Solas traineeship programme

Opportunities Abroad

Here is a guide for young people who want work experience abroad.  There are various opportunities to do an internship abroad. It can help you improve your personal and professional skills which will be highly valued by future employers. It’s an opportunity to boost your CV, your confidence and skills (language, communication, inter-cultural skills etc.), meet new friends and live a new adventure abroad.

Erasmus+ Traineeship (work placement/internship)

If you are a student, the Erasmus+ programme offers opportunities to do an internship/ traineeship during or just after your studies. You can also apply for traineeships at EU institutions and international agencies (see below).

  • usually between 2 to 12 months
  • supported by an Erasmus+ Traineeship grant.
  • students currently studying in higher education institutions with an Erasmus programme. Open to recent graduates also.
  • Talk to the international office at your college – many have a connection with European companies
  • Check out the positions currently being offered by on the Erasmus Student Network Traineeship Search Platform.
  • Contact a company you are interested in doing a traineeship at. Many companies have internship programmes which are easily adapted to the Erasmus+ traineeship scheme.

Information adapted from this useful website which provides further information on Erasmus + Traineeship Programme

Another useful information: Traineeships abroad for students

European Institutions

Most EU Institutions offer paid traineeships (known as “stages”) between 3-5 months for university graduates. Undertaking a stage can be an excellent way to gain experience of working life in Brussels and for many, it can act as the launch pad to an EU career. Even if you’re not sure if an EU career is for you, a stage can develop your professional and personal skills, as well as giving you the opportunity to live and work in a vibrant European city.

Trainees, or stagiaires, work in a wide range of fields, with opportunities in law, finance, human resources, environmental policy, communications and many more. The work of a stagiaire can include everything from preparing policy and position papers to coordinating visits. More information about the stages can be found on the DFA Website and on the websites of the institutions.

There are also internships available specifically for Irish speakers interested in working as a linguist in the EU. Organised annually by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, these internships give 10 graduates the opportunity to work on translation and proofreading in Irish. Further details of this scheme, known as Scéim Intéirneachta in Institiúidí an Aontais Eorpaigh, can be found via the Department’s website.

Useful websites

If you have any questions about studying in paid work experience, you can chat online to a trained Youth Information Officer or leave us a message and we can get back to you.

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