Skip to main content

Develop Yourself

Develop your employability skills with the wide range of opportunities provided by Careers & Enterprise.

In addition to your academic achievements, graduate employers want to see evidence that you are commercially aware and have the practical skills needed to excel in the workplace. Work experience is an excellent way to develop these skills and gives you the opportunity to 'test out' the types of job you might want to do after graduation. Gaining work experience during your time at university offers that vital opportunity. Careers & Enterprise can help you identify opportunities to help you understand and develop the skills you will need.

In this section you can find information on:

DU Exclusive Work Experience and Internship Programmes

Careers & Enterprise offer a number of work experience and internship programmes specifically for Durham students, supporting students in gaining valuable work experience.  

DU Exclusive Internships

Exclusive opportunities are provided to Durham students from a wide range of employers and sectors, including Durham University. We advertise work experience (such as internships and placement years), graduate jobs, or part-time and vacation work opportunities.  Opportunities are advertised on CareersConnect.

Enabling Opportunities

Enabling Opportunities supports under-represented students to secure work experience. Through workshops, one-to-one support, and employer engagement, the programme offers guidance to help with applications, culminating in a work experience period.

Global Opportunities

We support students from diverse backgrounds to boost their job skills and adaptability in a global setting. With our partner organisations, we offer summer internships worldwide, giving students valuable work experience opportunities. Find out more about Global Opportunities.

Student Employment Service

Our Student Employment Service can help you to find and apply for part-time and volunteering opportunities. We do this by:

  • Advertising part-time and volunteering opportunities via CareersConnect
  • Offering 1:1 appointments to help you find and apply for part-time jobs and volunteering
  • Providing information and advice on employment related matters such as working hours, income tax, and National Insurance

Placement Years

A placement year is an opportunity for you to gain valuable work experience during your time at university.

By undertaking a placement year, you will be able to apply your knowledge and skills in a work setting and trial a particular career or working environment that interests you. The experience often mirrors the first year working in a graduate role.

Placement years typically occur between the penultimate and final year of your degree and last between 9 to 12 months. Students in all departments can undertake a placement year, except students studying a Modern Languages and Cultures degree as a single, joint or combined honours degree who are required to take a mandatory ‘Year Abroad’ instead.

A placement year can help you:

  • Gain sector-specific/industry experience
  • Enhance your CV
  • Understand the culture of an organisation
  • Utilise your degree in the workplace
  • Discover a new city or country

Placement Year Support

Our Faculty Placement Managers will help you succeed in the recruitment process, prepare for your placement experience, offer guidance during your placement, and assist in your reintegration upon your return. 

Pre-placement support includes:

  • Placement-specific workshops and events
  • One-to-one advice from your Faculty Placement Manager on your CV, applications, and interviews
  • Weekly faculty newsletter with a curated selection of current opportunities
  • Access to exclusive placement opportunities

On-placement support includes:

  • Support from your Faculty Placement Manager
  • Support from your department adviser
  • Continued access to Durham University services such as your student email address, library facilities, online resources, IT support, and membership to the Student Union and your college
  • Continued access to Durham University support services such as Student Wellbeing, Counselling and Disability, and the Student Funding Office

Post-placement support includes:

  • Returners networking event
  • Support from Durham University careers advisers with next steps in your career

Find Out More About Placement Years

Read our comprehensive Placement Year Guide (PDF 9.8 KB).

Find out about tuition and fees while on placement.

Enterprise Skills

Developing skills that enable you to create impact is important, whether you intend to start your own venture or move into employment after graduation.

At Durham University there are many opportunities, both curricular and extra-curricular, to develop your ability to generate ideas and identify opportunities, utilise resources and affect change. Through Careers & Enterprise you can participate in the following activities:


Work as part of a team to develop new ideas that contribute to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by participating in GAME CHANGER challenges. Utilising insights from world leaders in design thinking methodology, GAME CHANGER provides the opportunity to:

  • Explore global problems and understand their impact
  • Generate ideas that contribute to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Create a plan to implement your idea
  • Develop your teamwork, communication and pitching skills
  • Win a share of prize money

Enactus Durham

Enactus Durham is a student-led organisation that provides the opportunity for you to engage in real-world projects, both locally and internationally. You can support projects that empower people to improve their own lives and others in their communities through sustainable innovation.

Enactus Durham is part of the global Enactus programme, inspiring students to make positive change through entrepreneurial action throughout the world. In recent years, the team has received national accolades including the 'UK's Most Improved Team' award and Finalists of the UK National Competition.

Entrepreneurs Durham

Entrepreneurs Durham is a student-led society can help you develop an entrepreneurial skill set, a creative outlook and commercial awareness. They run workshops, challenges and events aimed at getting your creativity flowing.

As well as participating in their activities, you also have the opportunity to join their executive team and gain practical experience in developing and running activities.


We organise in-person and online events and sessions throughout the year including recruitment presentations from graduate employers, workshops and skills development sessions, as well as sector specific careers weeks. You can search for and book on to our events on CareersConnect. Most events are open to both students and graduates.

You will have the opportunity to attend sessions that provide practical advice about skills such as, performing well at assessment centres, interviews, developing digital skills, writing applications - enabling you to improve your understanding of the graduate workplace and providing you with the opportunity to learn and develop these skills while at university.

PGR Skills Workshops

We offer a range of workshops, events and support to help Postgraduate Researchers develop their skills and knowledge to become more innovative, impactful and entrepreneurial. These activities are promoted through the Durham Centre for Academic Development.

Online Resources

You can develop your employability skills using our online resources and digital tools. Available to Durham students and graduates, resources include:

  • Career Planning Pathways – four pathways covering: Knowing Yourself and Employers' Expectations, Exploring Options, Goal Setting and Career Action Planning, and Successful Applications and Assessments
  • DU Career Fact Sheets and Help Sheets – information on over 70 different career areas including who to gain experience, and advice on finding opportunities and making applications
  • E-learning platform – includes learning pathways on topics including work experience, transferable skills, networking, career direction, and industry insights
  • CV Builder and CV360 – to help you create an effective CV
  • CareersConnect – search for opportunities and events; explore careers information and advice in the Career Discovery Feed and through Pathways; access our other online resources via the ‘Resources’ section

Finding Opportunities

Log in to CareersConnect to search for opportunities including:

  • Part-time jobs
  • Term-time and vacation internships
  • Placement years
  • Work shadowing and insight programmes
  • Volunteering

If you’re not sure what type of opportunity to apply for or need help with your search, you can book a 1:1 Careers Appointment with a careers adviser.