Science / Engineering work experience for 6th formers

Lots of my A-level students are unsure what they want to do at university or for a career. I believe work experience in science or engineering during the summer following Year 12 can help them make up their minds. Over the past few years, I’ve managed to use personal contacts to arrange placements for a number of students and they’ve always been incredibly grateful for this, often choosing to go into the field in which they did the work experience.

It shouldn’t be the case that I am left to organise such things for students, nor is it fair that a “well-connected” teacher can give his students such an advantage. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious place to go to arrange such work experience if you don’t have contacts with university departments, however there are some schemes operated by individual university departments and other institutions (note that the deadlines for many of these has passed for this year):

Nuffield Research Placements

University College London Physics Dept.

Imperial College London

Engineering Development Trust

Science and Technology Facilities Council

University of Birmingham

University of Surrey Physics Department (Year 10 upwards)

Zebrafish Research at UCL


Student Ladder (not specific to STEM)

Summer Courses and other ways to help Year 12 students with STEM:

Aspiring Professionals Programme

Space related work experience and summer courses

King’s College London K+ Scheme, for extended support

Exscitec Science, Robotics and Maths Courses and Activities

Highland Wildlife Park

Dr Bessie Lawrence International Summer Science Institute

International Summer Science School Heidelberg

Eton Summer School

If you’re reading this and know of other schemes, please leave a comment below and I’ll update this post so that it’s more useful for next year’s lower sixth.

Finally, if you’re a teacher, you might be interested in the Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme which provides teachers with STEM related work experience in industry.




  1. This is one of the things we’re doing for Think Physics, but our focus is the North-East of England.

    We’re running several summer schools of different flavours, and developing a database of employers across the region, including whether they offer work experience. Northumbria University also offers work experience directly, though my understanding is that systems for this are in flux so there’s not currently much promotion of what’s available.

  2. The Genome Damage & Stability Centre at Uni. of Sussex takes in Y12 & Y11 students in the summer (usually July), but its first come first serve & a popular destination so the local schools (East Sussex & West Kent areas) career departments/co-ordinators need to make contact with the Genome centre as early as possible!

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