Careers and Employability Service
Services for employers

SMEs internships and projects


Internships and business projects provide small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the opportunity to bring in additional resource, access new skills and expertise, and create a talent pipeline for future hires.

Our expert team will work with you to understand what scheme best suits your business need and to discuss funding options available. Full support is provided for recruitment and selection processes to ensure you bring in an intern(s) or project team that will achieve the desired outcomes for your business.

SMEs are companies consisting of fewer than 250 people and with a turnover of less than 50 million euros or an annual balance sheet not exceeding 43 million euros.


Nottingham Internship Scheme

What is the Nottingham Internship Scheme? 

Why not join the hundreds of small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have employed our talented students and graduates through the Nottingham Internship Scheme?

The Nottingham Internship Scheme (NIS) is a well-established and popular programme amongst our students and recent graduates. Internships provide them with important work experience, improved employability, and a breadth of new skills. 

SMEs can make use of the NIS to fill a short-term vacancy or a permanent role following the initial internship period, or to complete a defined piece of work or a project with funding available to support you through the process.


An employer's perspective on the value of employing an intern

Through the Nottingham Internship Scheme, we gain access to a pool of enthusiastic and motivated individuals who bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table.

Why get involved and how does it work?

As an SME the benefits of taking part include: 

  • Access to university talent 
  • A pipeline for future hires 
  • Members of staff can take on coaching/managerial responsibilities 
  • Improved knowledge of the student and graduate labour market 
  • A valuable contribution to your social responsibility or community work 

How does it work? 

The NIS takes place twice during the academic year, once in spring and once in the summer. The timelines will differ slightly each academic year. 

  • Spring internships take place during the Easter vacation
  • Summer internships take place from June onwards, after the spring semester exam period

Spring internships are open to current students from widening participation backgrounds and summer internships are open to all current students and recent graduates. 

We can fully or partially fund the salary of up to two interns per organisation, as long as they are paid at least the National Living Wage.


Summer 2024 internships

The next opportunity to participate will be in June 2024. Charities can access full funding for 4 weeks and businesses partial funding for a minimum of 6 weeks. These internships are typically 4-12 weeks long on a full time basis (part-time can be accommodated if this better suits your organisation). Your organisation will employ the student for the internship. Students from any course and level of study can take part.

Key dates:

  1. Advert deadline – Wednesday 3 April
  2. Student applications open – Monday 8 April
  3. Student applications close – Sunday 28 April
  4. Participating organisations short-list and interview – Throughout May
  5. Opportunities take place – From Monday 3 June

We can fully or partially fund the salary of up to two interns per organisation, as long as they are paid at least the National Living Wage. 

To find out more contact Keaton directly about the Nottingham Internship Scheme

Nottingham Consultancy Challenge 

What is the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge? Watch an employer video

Do you have a business idea, project, or problem that you don’t have the time or resources to work on? Through the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge, you could benefit from free business support from University of Nottingham students.

Mary Broddle Embrodiery

Mary talks about the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge she set a group of our students, the outcomes and the value the students have added.


What is the commitment?

The Challenge is designed to simulate a real business relationship between student consultants and their client: you. Students are guided on how to work with professional clients, and this direct interaction is a key incentive for students volunteering their time. The level of involvement varies to accommodate your availability and interest, but as a minimum a representative from your organisation would be available for:


  • Liaise with the scheme manager to create your project brief that students will work on
  • Review and sign up to the terms of the Challenge

During the Challenge

  • A weekly meeting with the student group over video call
  • Ad hoc queries from the student group to ensure progress with your project
  • Providing feedback to students at the close of the Challenge

How does the Challenge work?

We assign each project as a ‘Challenge’ to a small group of students who will work on it and deliver a presentation and report over a six-week period, contributing between six-eight hours each per week (including meetings and university-led skills development activities).

Students and organisations will collaborate remotely, using video call and online working tools such as MS Teams. You will need to commit to virtually meet with the students once a week over the six weeks and provide feedback to the student group on how well they responded to your project brief. The Challenge will be concluded with a written report and presentation, which will be delivered to you via video call. 

Students are supported throughout the Challenge by the University to develop and use skills vital to great consultancy work: customer service, professional communication, group-working and creating and delivering excellent presentations. As the client, your first point of contact will be with your student consultancy group, but the university is on hand to offer support and advice.


Previous successful schemes

Skills Access Hub was a scheme developed in partnership with Nottingham City Council to support SMEs across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Interested in finding out more?

Complete our form or contact Keaton directly to find out more about the Nottingham Internship Scheme and Nottingham Consultancy Challenge.

Keaton Sharpe, Work Experience Officer

By phone 07970 106213 or email



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 82 32233
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679