Work experience and internships in Science tend to be less commonly in the form of organised schemes that you might find in Economics or Law, for example. But that just means that there’s a huge range of work you can find!
The Careers Service is a great resource for finding work experience and internships. Register and Log in on the website to find a large number of vacancies and opportunities for Cambridge students! If you pop down in person (it’s only a 10-minute walk from John’s) they’ve got loads of leaflets about not only vacation work, but also advice on writing your CV and cover letters.
In addition, you can search in UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Projects) for work at labs and departments in Cambridge (typically 8 – 12 weeks long).
For placements outside Cambridge, the Nuffield Foundation is a good place to search for opportunities within the UK.
Google can throw up some good results if you know where to look. Science placements are often referred to as “studentships” as opposed to “internships”, or “research experience” instead of “work experience”.
Be aware that the deadlines for these are often around January/February, so you really need to be researching them before you come back to college for Lent term.
Don’t wait for a decision from one placement before applying for more! Some of these placements can have more than 30 applicants per place, so realistically your chances of getting each one are pretty slim. While waiting for one decision, you could end up missing deadlines for a few other schemes, while that first one turns out to be a rejection. Apply to anything and everything you’re interested in – it is acceptable to reject schemes if you’ve been offered more than one!
If you can’t find an organised scheme that suits you, then you could consider approaching labs or emailing professors yourself. Don’t be afraid of approaching supervisors or lecturers if they work in an area that you’d be interested in. There are a number of organisations that may be able to fund a placement if you find a lab that is willing to take you on.
Alternatively, College have a number of grants that you may be eligible for if the work is voluntary or very low-paid, but these must be applied for by a deadline in April so you need to get sorted early. If you miss the deadline for research grants, you may be able to claim back something from the Learning and Research Fund (the same fund you can use to claim back for textbooks etc) – details are all on CamTools under the Tutorial section.