What is Work Shadowing?Observing someone in the workplace can help you to understand their role and how they do their job. Its aim is to provide an insight in to the work environment rather than to give you hands on experience. By spending a day or two in a workplace you’ll experience the realities of a professional environment within a certain industry and be able to question and learn from professionals you encounter to help inform your career plans.

The Careers Service runs a Work Shadowing Scheme, where we have a number of small, medium and large organisations participating as hosts and the important factor in this scheme is the job role you wish to shadow and not the exact organisation you visit for the day(s). As such you will apply by expressing interest in particular job function and will not apply to a named organisation. This is designed to help you appreciate the variety and diversity of careers available.

Watch our short introduction to 'What is Work Shadowing'

Why should I work shadow?

Work Shadowing provides a unique insight and enables you to:

  • Gain a better understanding of the job market
  • Develop an understanding of a typical day in a professional work environment
  • Improve your confidence and foster experience for your CV
  • Network with potential employers and recruiters
  • Experience an application process whilst applying to the scheme

Who can participate in the Work Shadowing Scheme?

Our Work Shadowing Scheme is currently only available to first year undergraduate students at Imperial College London. We have chosen to be selective for this year group as we appreciate that it can be particularly difficult for first year students to secure work experience such as summer internships as preference is often given to those in more senior year groups.

When will work shadowing take place?

Our work shadowing scheme will take place during the Spring and Summer breaks:

Spring Work Shadowing : Easter 2020

Summer Work Shadowing: 1 July – 12 July 2019 and 16 September – 27 September 2019  (Work shadowing opportunities will not be available outside of these date ranges).

How to apply?

Summer applications - Applications for summer 2019 are now closed.

Spring applications -  applications will open in the Spring 2020 term.

You will need to provide details of your motivations, previous experience, availability and select job roles and occupational areas in which you have a genuine interest in learning more about. The work shadowing programme is designed to broaden your understanding of the job market and as such you will not apply to a particular organisation but will be assigned to a host that best fits your interests and motivations.


Work shadowing is an unpaid experiential learning experience which gives short exposure to a professional environment. As such you will not be in receipt of a salary for the time spent with an organisation however reasonable travel costs and expenses can be paid for students from low income backgrounds.

Terms and Conditions:

Please note we cannot guarantee that every application will result in a work shadowing opportunity. Student/Host matches will be made on the basis of the preferences expressed in the application form and on the strength of the application answers. Where the scheme is over-subscribed priority will be given to students that meet the College’s Widening Participation criteria. If you are unsuccessful in the first round (Spring), you will be eligible to re-apply for a place in the second round (Summer).

If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact workshadowing@imperial.ac.uk or drop in to the Careers Service, Level 5 Sherfield Building.