Working with students

Cultural organisations can gain new ideas, build capacity and develop new skills by working with University of Leeds students from a range of academic disciplines.

The Cultural Institute acts as a point of contact for arts and cultural partners to discover opportunities and connect with students from across the entire University. We also deliver projects to improve student experiences, education and wellbeing through encounters with arts and culture. 

Benefits of working with our students

Hosting a student as a paid intern, through a placement, or as a volunteer can benefit both the student and yourself.

By working with your organisation, our students develop transferrable skills, apply their academic learning in practice, gain experience of the realities of work within the creative industry and enhance their employability. 

As an organisation, you can access our students’ specialist skills, knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm, bring extra resource to your team, and add valuable unique perspectives. 

We have a large student population of nearly 40,000 students, including over 14,000 international students from 137 countries. We recruit and support students from diverse backgrounds, with over 6,000 students eligible for our Plus Programme, tailored to maximise opportunities for UK students who come from backgrounds that are less represented at university. 

Ways to work with our students


Many of our students undertake volunteering roles alongside their studies, on either an ad-hoc or ongoing basis. Our Volunteering team can advertise your roles to our students, as well as invite you to attend volunteering fairs and advise on volunteer recruitment.  

Volunteering roles might include working with community groups; supporting social media and digital communications; stewarding and hosting events; updating catalogues and other voluntary duties. You might also consider students as ‘Young Trustees’ to give a students’ perspective within your organisation.   

As students need to fit volunteering alongside academic commitments, the roles we promote should be low-commitment opportunities that are less than 15 hours per week. We can’t advertise any roles that should be classified as employment through our Volunteering team, and we only promote opportunities with charities, social enterprises or community groups.   

If you have a role in mind or you'd simply like to talk to us to find out more, email the Volunteering team at

Internships and paid placements

If you have a paid role that is suitable for students of graduates, we can advertise it for free through our online careers portal MyCareer, a system regularly accessed by over 40,000 current students as well as graduates from the last five years.  

If the role is exclusively for University of Leeds students, we can help reduce the burden of recruiting staff with a full recruitment service, where our Work Placements team can: 

  • Advise on creating job descriptions  
  • Advertise your roles to our students, including targeting specific cohorts or disciplines  
  • Collate and shortlist applicants   
  • Offer interview facilities  
  • Provide unsuccessful candidates with feedback  
  • Support you throughout the student’s employment and re-advertise roles as needed. 

The University has a policy to only advertise and endorse employment opportunities that are paid. Salary subsidies for summer / part-time internships of up to £1,500 may be available to SMEs and charitable organisations (restrictions apply). 

Students can undertake a range of paid roles:  

  • Year-in-industry placements: all undergraduate students between their second and third year can take a nine to 12 month full-time role as part of year-in-industry. placement. Students can undertake more than one placement throughout their year-in-industry, so roles that are shorter than nine months or part-time may still be eligible. 
  • Part-time term-time: current students can undertake up to 15 hours paid employment per week during University term-time.  
  • Summer internships: current students can undertake full-time employment for up to 12 weeks during the summer vacation.
  • Graduate roles: recent graduates can undertake ongoing or fixed-term roles throughout the year. 

If you don’t have a payroll set up, we can arrange this service through our JobLink centre.

In-curriculum opportunities  

For many of our taught courses, placements with external partners are a core element of the academic experience. Through in-curriculum opportunities, organisations can host students to undertake specific tasks based on your organisation’s needs. 

There is no cost to hosting placement students, but as their contribution is part of their assessed work, the placement provider has less direct control of their outputs.  

Some modules are particularly relevant to arts and cultural organisations: 

  • Sustainability and Consultancy placements: host an MSc student to conduct a sustainability-related project such as creating an action plan towards net zero, investigating resource efficiency or adding social value to projects, resulting in a consultancy report for your organisation. 
  • Live briefs, research and consultancy placements: this is a low-commitment option for organisations to set a consultancy brief, research question or issue faced by an arts, cultural or creative organisation. 
  • Art Galleries and Museum Studies placements: MA students undertake a placement with a cultural organisation to gain experience of practice within a professional environment.  
  • Archival placements: BA or MA History students gain hands-on experience of working in a catalogued archives, which may result in a public output such as blog post, interpretation information or webpage.  
  • Journalism placements: host a second-year BA Journalism student for a three-week, full-time work shadowing placement in your comms/press team during the summer vacation.  

If you would like to advertise a paid role, or understand more about recruiting a student including securing funding, please submit an enquiry via our Employability and Placements enquiry form

Practitioner insights 

Students are always keen to hear from people working in the creative industry about their experiences. We have several active schemes and programmes for students to gain insight from practitioners: 

  • School of Media and Communication – Media Futures 
  • School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies – visiting artist talks  
  • School of Music – employability mentoring scheme 
  • School of Performance and Cultural Industries – Professional Practice programme. 

Our Employability team also runs Creative Careers Week in February each year, which is a chance for students across disciplines to hear from those with insights into the realities of a career in the creative industries, whether you’re a cultural leader, mid-level practitioner or embarking your creative career. 

We’d welcome enquiries from practitioners in the arts, culture and heritage sectors to present visiting talks about aspects of your role, organisation or sector. Visiting talks can be aligned with particular degree programmes or disciplines, and are an excellent way to raise awareness of your organisation and the work you do amongst our student cohort.  

Please submit enquiries via our Employability and Placements enquiry form

Engaging students as audiences 

Engaging with culture and the arts can create joy, playfulness and meaning, enhancing the lives of people working and studying at the University of Leeds. We also know that cultural activity can play a transformative role in providing a healthy, safe and inclusive environment, offering enriching experiences for students and staff and helping to create a sense of belonging and community.  

The Cultural Institute therefore welcomes approaches from arts and cultural partners to promote events, activities or experiences which are suitable for a student audience. This might include pop-up performances or taster sessions on campus, behind-the-scenes tours of your venue, special student events, ticket discounts or your attendance at cultural fairs. 

To discuss how you can engage students as audiences for your organisation, please email the Cultural Institute at

Building skills for the sector 

We provide high-quality professional learning, development and accreditation opportunities to ensure the arts industry continues to grow and develop the skills and potential of its workforce. 

The Cultural Institute is a sector support organisation within Arts Council England’s national portfolio, as a founding member of the Arts Fundraising consortium alongside Cause4 and Arts Marketing Association.  

Our acclaimed National School in Arts Fundraising and Leadership is an innovative week-long residential course for arts managers and fundraisers, which provides intensive study, practical activities and time out for reflection. 

By participating in the residential course and a 12-month work-based distance learning assessment programme, Fundraising Fellows gain a postgraduate certificate in Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy – the first of its kind in Europe.  

It has been so beneficial to me and to Cast to be part of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme. I have developed so much since it began, and the professional network of Fundraising Fellows will, I think, be a huge asset to the arts and culture industry.  

Lorna Clayton-Rawle, Fundraising Manager, Cast 

Find out more about PGCert Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy.