Summer internships 2021

Internships for Summer 2021 are now live!

Look below for an introdcution to our 2021 summer internships as Jackie explains the process for applying to and engaging with the internships.

Video: Q-Step internships 2021


Video: Q-Step intro video for students


Look through the sectors below to see what opportunities are avalaible through the Q-Step data fellowship programme.

Charities and third sector


National government departments

Please read the information in the project proposals carefully and note a security clearance check will be required in most (but not all) cases. Such internships will not be able to accept anyone who has lived outside of GB for three months or more within the last five years.

Think tanks

Frequently asked questions

For students applying to 2021 Q-Step internships see below for a list of FAQs that have emerged through the drop-in support sessions.


If English is not your first language do you need a formal qualification in English to apply?

No pre-requisite qualifications or evidence are required. However, if you are successful in getting to interview you will need to demonstrate your competency at communicating in English. We have placed many students before who are not British-born, it shouldn’t be a barrier. Indeed equality of opportunity is a core value of the scheme.

Is there one internship per project?

Rule of thumb, each link / outline represents a single project. With the exception of a couple of project outlines, most have a 1:1 ratio of intern:project.

Do we have to include our required module in the CV / Application letter?

Yes, in the letter of application we ask for your degree & relevant module(s)

Is there any guidance on CVs and Applications?

Put yourself in the shoes of the employer. Draw out what resonates with the employer. For useful information, you can go to the careers website or you can email for individualised guidance.

What is involved in security clearance for those projects that require it?

Standard practice with national government departments is a security clearance process that can take up to 8 weeks. If you are successfully offered one of these projects, the organisation will take over arranging for security clearance and liaise directly with you. If you have lived outside of UK for more than 3 months you will likely not be able to take up one of these placements. Some organisations might require you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), this is very different and simply a part of agreeing to deal with sensitive or commercial data.

Do you have to write 3 different application letters?

Yes, and each should be customised to reflect the project you are applying for. Your CV does not really need to change, although you could tailor it to individual projects to highlight different skills and experience.

If there is a placement that no one has applied for, would that be offered to unsuccessful candidates?

Yes. We initially restrict it to 3 for logistical reasons but we try and match you to the most appropriate one for you. At first, we place successful candidates to their first choices and then unsuccessful applicants will be given the opportunity to choose from the remaining internships. Note that we (the Q-Step team) do not select you – the host organisations do.

Does ERASMUS affect chances of applying?

You're eligible as long as you will be available for interview and to work where the host will need you to be, whether that be remotely or in the UK.

Most of the internships are online, what happens with the ones where you are expected to be in the office?

We do not expect hosts to help you find a place to live, but rather we expect you to relocate if needed or be within commuting distance. If you have specific questions about specific projects, contact us and we will go back to the organisation and ask. They vary, some pay for travel some don't.

If you are concerned about travel or accommodation costs, then you could look at the careers service bursary scheme.

Is there a date by which we would know if we were successful?

Yes. We try and let people know by end of May. Everything is done by mid-June.

How many people apply?

It varies. There's a very high success rate although of course, it is competitive

Are the required units limited to those written in ‘who can apply’ page?

By and large, yes (this was a condition of the funding for the internships). If you have a specific question then email us at If you feel that you have the ability but have not done the pre-requisites then we can consider this on an individual basis.

I've never written a cover letter before, what should it look like? How should I start? Who do I address it to?

You want your letter to speak to the interests of the person who is reading it. Stand out. Differentiate. Persuade the person reading that you are worthy of being given an interview. Step into their shoes.

Why are you interested? What can you give? Why should they choose you?

How should you structure things?

Make clear your eligibility first of all. Go into something about yourself. Some CVs ask for a little profile, flavour of you, what makes you tick. There will be a rubric (list of things) requiring essentials and desirables. Go from the particular to the general.

Should I break down GCSEs / A Levels? In CV

You can either list grades individually or not. It is up to you as to how you group them. For example, you can list your A-levels individually but you might want to group your GCSE’s (e.g. 8 GCSEs grade A*-C)

How would we go about getting a letter of application checked over?

You can send it over to and we can have a look over or ask your Q-Step lecturer!

Suitability for placements? Do we have to have experience directly in the topic / sector?

It’s a calculated risk. If you really want to do it, you will have to work extra hard to get it if you don't have the experience. Your goal is to get to interview. Show that you are sufficiently interested in the organisation and the project. If you haven't got particular expertise in the area, don't mention it. Focus more on the attitude and soft skills that are applicable.

Underpinning all of it is your self-awareness, what do you want to do? How does this feed into it?

Better for you to apply to projects that you have all the essential skills and desirables. Be prepared to defend them.

They like people to have already worked before (particularly in office environments).

If they are 8-weeks, is this Monday to Friday?

Depends who you're with, they will usually specify if flexible. Bear in mind that most are going to be virtual, there will be some degree of flexibility.

Most will be Mon-Fri but some will be more open. Times will be the most likely to be flexible.

We (Q-Step) operate on the basis of trust, there is no timesheet (there is but only technically) on our end. You have a right to ask for flexibility from the host organisation, but handle this professionally. You should not work more than 35 hours a week.

Would you still include the bio in your CV in your Cover letter?

Don't duplicate it.

Have people struggled to maintain both diss and internship?

It will be full-time. Everyone previously has gone on to do really well in final year and find the placement is a benefit to their dissertation. Some former interns have used data from the organisations they have been hosted by in their 3rd-year dissertations.

Most internships now say they'll be remote / virtual? How is this going to work compared to a normal year?

You'll be working as part of a team that is set up for that. Some will be able to engage in-person when restrictions lift. Some may be able to pay for travel on your behalf. Organisations don't get involved (unless they offer) on accommodation or travel.

How do I sell myself?

Go into the interview ready and willing to talk about what you said on paper.

Always back up with examples. Situation Task Action Result.

Who do we address the cover letters to?

Does not really matter. To whomever it may concern / Sir or Madam. End it with Yours Faithfully.

In the interview, what should I ask them?

Always ask them something. What type of opportunities are there? Personal development? Any reading I can do in advance? Is there any prospect of me using this data beyond the internship (for example, in my dissertation)? What does a typical day look like?

Can you suggest any other good resources for helping me to write a letter of application?

Careers service, Q-Step team and lecturers.

If it's been a while since using Excel etc. Do I need to brush up?

There will be pre-internship training. Essentially refresher courses. Don't do yourself down, be confident in your own skills but refresh your memory before interview.

Do we need to give references in our CV?

Up to you, can leave them "upon request". Make sure you have their permission. We don't use references usually.