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Five Need to Know Internships for Disabled Students

For most students, internships make up a core part of your university experience. If, like me, you’ve realised that you really need to get a move on and find some relevant work experience, an internship can be the perfect choice.

If, also like me, you are disabled, finding an internship that works for you might be a little more complicated. There’s nothing stopping you applying for internships that are open to all students, it’s something I’d personally recommend if you find a company you really want to work for. However, I realised that there are several programmes in the UK that specifically target disabled and other minority students.

It’s worth making note of these as they will have had experience in working with disabled people before, are committed to creating a diverse workforce and may offer you extra training and future work opportunities.

Here are five internships and work placements that actively seek disabled applicants.


Change100 provides disabled students and graduates with a three month, paid internship over the summer. Previous students have worked with organisations such as the BBC, Lloyds and Barclays. Applications for summer 2017 opened on October 3rd 2016 and close on January 25th 2017.

Summer Diversity Internship Programme

As part of the civil service fast stream you could join the summer diversity internship programme. Open to students in their final two years at university it gives students the opportunity to work in a department of the Civil Service across the UK. You will be working for between 6 and 9 weeks, and paid between £300 and £350 a week.

In order to apply you must either be:

  • From a black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.
  • Disabled.
  • Socially or economically disadvantaged.

Applications aren’t yet open, but you can register your interest here.

Google EmployAbility Business Internship

Imagine working for Google, one of the most well-known companies in the world. As a disabled student it is possible that in summer 2017 you could be doing just that because of their partnership with EmployAbility. In order to apply you must be:

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or master’s degree.
  • Returning to education after the end of the internship.
  • Able to commit to at least 10 weeks, and up to six months, at Google.

Applications close on December 1st 2016, don’t miss out!

Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme

This 9 month, paid internship aims to challenge the culture of unpaid internships by offering a paid work placement to those who would be unable to work without a wage. It was created to increase diversity within parliament, and encourage people from minority backgrounds to get involved.

As part of the scheme you could:

  • Support an MP by managing admin tasks, such as scanning and filing paperwork.
  • Take notes at meetings.
  • Assist with general organisation, such as booking events in the diary.
  • You will also spend 1 day a week working in different departments within parliament.

The scheme is currently closed for new applications, job placements start in September and applications will open again in 2017.


Extend is a work placement scheme within the BBC that provides disabled people with a six month paid work placement. There’s no guarantee of a job at the end of the placement, however many participants have gone on to gain further work within the BBC. The scheme has been running for over 14 years and has enabled over 500 disabled people to find work within the BBC.

It can be hard to find an internship if you’re a disabled student, but hopefully these suggestions will get you on your way, whether you’re looking for a short placement or a more long-term opportunity. EmployAbility has many links with businesses, offering a whole range of internships and graduate roles. The EmployAbility website contains a list of all the opportunities available.

Good luck, and please let me know how you get on. You never know, we could end up on one of the same placements because of this post!

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