Securing a laboratory placement

Get Ahead 4

Why are placements important? 

It’s a competitive job market out there, by undertaking a placement you’ll:

  • gain valuable first-hand experience of working in a laboratory
  • make professional contacts
  • have a chance to earn a post-registration starting salary of £21,000+ 
Ensure your CV is up-to-date

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your CV together. 

To help, we’ve prepared a useful guide on how to put together a great CV in our Graduates section. For more advice on writing a CV you can also ask your careers office.


How to organise a work placement in a laboratory

Many IBMS accredited university courses will offer a placement or sandwich year as part of your degree course. However, if your course does not include a placement opportunity your university tutors or careers advisers may be able to connect you with labs that could offer you a placement. 

Attending careers fairs and events or linking up with your local IBMS region or branch (eStudents only) is also a good way to make connections and for asking about work experience opportunities. 

The NHS often advertise vacancies for laboratory assistants - you can find these posts advertised on the NHS Jobs website.

Contact local laboratories and ask whether you can do some work experience yourself. A good place to start is finding and contacting your local hospital. Ask to speak to the human resources, voluntary services or their education and training department. They will be able to give you some guidance on what work experience opportunities are available.

You can find links to your local NHS Trusts via the NHS Choices website.

There are also a number of private medical laboratories in the UK – you can find many of the larger companies providing medical laboratory services listed on  

Veterinary diagnostic labs may also offer work experience, use a search engine to see where your nearest one is.


Useful links

Step into the NHS includes a “Smart guide to work experience”

NHS Careers website

National Careers Service

You can search for lab-based vacancies on the National Apprenticeships website

Year in Industry student placements

The Student Rooms also has a helpful discussion on finding laboratory work experience.

Zebra Fish at UCL - Lab visits and work placements

Medical Research Council Summer Studentships

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute student placements and work experience

GlaxoSmithKline school work placements

GlaxoSmithKline undergraduate placements


Found a placement?  

Read our tips on how to ensure you're fully prepared for the interview