The labour market in the United Kingdom
Finding a job in the UK is fairly straightforward, especially as the unemployment rate there is lower than in France. It is a flexible labour market and has attracted many foreigners for several years. British people put work experience ahead of education, so highlight your skills on your CV and during the interview.
You won't need to be bilingual to find a student job, but you'll probably be paid less. You will of course have better opportunities if you already have a good level of English!
The sectors that are recruiting the most are hotels and restaurants, scientific research, commerce, new technologies, banking, finance and environment-related industries. It is best to avoid the communication and marketing sectors, which are saturated.
You will have a better chance of finding a job in big cities like London or Edinburgh in Scotland, as these are important economic centers. You can also find out about job opportunities in Manchester: many French companies are based there.
Here we provide you with essential information about jobs and traineeships in the UK. If you already have an idea of where you are going to stay, go to the relevant fact sheet for more detailed information.
- England, London
- Northern Ireland, Belfast
- Wales, Cardiff
- Scotland, Edinburgh
Looking for job opportunities in the United Kingdom
There are many ways to look for a job in the UK! The most obvious is to go through the Internet. Online job vacancies have become the main source for working in the UK. There you can select several criteria such as industry, salary and location.
Some sites for your job research:
Don't neglect more traditional means such as classified ads in the press, mainly in newspapers such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Independent and The Guardian.
Recruitment agencies are located in many cities. They are often specialized by sector or type of employment (temporary or long-term). A list of these firms can be found at www.rec.uk.com. In most cities, you will also find Job Centers that have databases on local, national and European jobs. Advisers can help you directly with all aspects of your search.
If you want to work in the UK and are looking for a French company, contact the local chamber of commerce in your home country. They will probably have a list of companies from your country operating in the UK.
Finally, don't forget that it is also by meeting the right people, in the right place, at the right time that you will be able to find a job. Don't hesitate to join groups of expatriates and let them know that you are looking for a job.
Salary and regulations
Officially, there is no specific legislation concerning working time and overtime in the United Kingdom. It is your employment contract that must define whether you can be asked to work overtime, whether it is paid and at what rate.
There are, however, legal limits on working time (including overtime) which vary according to the sector or the age of the employee concerned, in accordance with international or European regulations for obvious health and safety reasons. As a general rule, the working time limit is set at 48 hours per week.
Doing an internship abroad represents real added value on a personal and professional level. That's why more and more young people are choosing to try this experience and the UK seems to be a good destination for this! Every year, the country welcomes a large number of students and recent graduates who come to do an internship and gain work experience.
Spontaneous applications are rather well received, but be perseverant and above all, make sure you write your CV in English correctly (beware when translating, have your CV proofread by an English speaker!).
We advise you to start your traineeship search very early and to start looking only for paid internships as the cost of living in the UK is quite high.
Duration and agreement
The duration of a traineeship in the United Kingdom must be less than one year. How in France, the internship agreement must set out the various terms of the internship (remuneration, insurance, responsibilities) and be signed by all three parties (company, trainee, educational establishment). The rights of trainees depend on their status with regard to work: employee, volunteer or worker.
EU nationals do not need to take any special steps to go on a traineeship in England. However, if the internship lasts more than three months, you should remember to report your presence in the UK by going to a town hall or police station. In order to be able to justify the reason for your stay at any time, you can apply for a Registration certificate online.
The different types of internships in the United Kingdom
There are different types of internships, both paid and unpaid. The term most commonly used to refer to an internship in the UK is Internship, but it is not associated with a legal status. It simply refers to the placement of a young graduate or graduate student in a company for a period of 3 to 6 months. Internships are of two kinds:
- Summer Internships, internships of a few weeks beginning at the end of the academic year. Recruiters test candidates in real-life situations to select only the best. They are not mandatory internships and are more like a trial period.
- Graduate Internships, jobs reserved for young people who have just completed their undergraduate studies, often of long duration (more than three months). It is common to find offers for one-year assignments.
When we talk about Internship in England, we are talking about a professional experience that takes place after graduation. During your research, pay attention to the status that the company offers you:
- Volunteer status: a Volunteer is the equivalent of a volunteer. It is a person who makes an agreement with an organization (company, association, etc.) for work that will not give rise to any financial compensation or benefit of any kind (not even a benefit such as a concert ticket for a Volunteer working for a concert hall for example). The Volunteer is under no obligation to show up for work if he or she does not wish to do so. They cannot be fired or sued for breach of contract. Trainees choosing this status do so to gain experience or to obtain a good reference for future employment.
- Sandwich and industrial placements: this is a placement in a company that is taken into account for the purpose of obtaining a degree during the university course. This type of placement is paid and often lasts a full year ("thick sandwich courses"). It corresponds to a form of apprenticeship in alternation and generally allows the granting of ECTS. This concerns certain sectors more particularly: computer science, agriculture, architecture, commerce and management. In the case of "thin sandwich courses", the duration is 2 to 6 months. The "sandwich course" is frequent in business or administration, computer science, engineering and technology, architecture and construction, agriculture. It is not mandatory.
- Worker status: The trainee has made an agreement (written or not) in which he exchanges his work force for a reward. He is considered as a Worker if this reward is of a financial nature or a benefit in kind (housing, promise of employment ...) and if he has to show up at work even if he does not want to.
Remuneration of traineeships in the United Kingdom
The possibility of being remunerated depends on the company, the sector of activity and the status of the trainee.
All trainees must be paid at the minimum wage if they are acting as a Worker, unless the traineeship is compulsory as part of a UK school curriculum.
During their studies, they are governed directly by the educational institutions linked to the professional branches and are generally unpaid, but they may be accompanied by benefits (meals, transport, financial participation, etc.).
The trainee is generally not remunerated in the following cases:
- internship of less than one month to validate studies
- work experience during compulsory schooling (before the age of 16)
- volunteer work for charities (except for specific reimbursements for meals or transportation)
- shadowing internship
Even if your internship is unpaid, the company will of course have to cover the costs of your work.
It is safer to choose Worker status because your employer will be obliged, among other things, to pay you and provide you with work for the duration of the traineeship. If it is an out-of-school placement, the work may or may not be paid. It is up to you to determine your expectations and to choose the most appropriate solution.
How to find an internship in the UK
If you are a student, start by asking your school if it has contacts in companies. French institutions in the UK, such as embassies or the Economic Mission, are also potential host organisations. The economic mission UBIFRANCE in the United Kingdom welcomes French trainees. You can send your unsolicited application to email@example.com.
If you are studying in an IEP, you can apply for an internship in French diplomatic and consular posts. To do so, you will have to contact the IEP to compile a file which will then be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Out-of-course placements are common in the UK. If you're not a student, you can find many 'first job' offers after graduation and other off-course offers on sites such as RateMyPlacement , GraduatePoolTalent or Prospects.
An spontaneous application is the best way to find an internship in the UK. If you can afford to go to the UK before your internship period to start a business, don't hesitate! The effectiveness of door-to-door canvassing is well established. You will be able to prove your motivation and reassure your future employer.
More advice on British Council.
Some useful links to find internship offers:
In the UK, you will easily find small jobs for short periods, sometimes even by the day. The hotel and catering sector is always looking for new hands. Whether in hotels, bars, restaurants, or cafes, you'll have plenty of opportunities... especially if you already speak English!
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La responsabilité civile est une assurance obligatoire en stage. Elle est souvent exigée dès l’inscription dans la plupart des établissements d’enseignement supérieur. Elle prend en charge, en France et à l’étranger, les dommages corporels, matériels et immatériels que vous pourriez causés à un tiers lors d’un stage ou à l’occasion des activités quotidiennes (sorties, babysitting …). L’assurance Responsabilité civile, se substitue au responsable pour indemniser la victime. A défaut d’assurance, vous devrez vous-même vous charger de l’indemnisation de la victime.
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