Local companies and students have been benefitting from a special internship scheme which places undergraduates into small businesses over the summer.
The Nottingham Internship Scheme, which is managed by the University’s Careers and Employability Service, offers financial grants to SMEs in the region to assist them in creating paid internship opportunities for students and recent graduates from The University of Nottingham.
The internship scheme lasts between eight and twelve weeks, and companies taking part in the initiative have been able to benefit from students who can focus on delivering specific projects, or provide technical expertise and support during periods of heavy workload.
Variety of roles
Some of the roles that the interns have undertaken include marketing, PR, finance & accounting, sales, social research, web development, software engineering, manufacturing, engineering and project management.
The Nottingham Internship Scheme provides approximately 40% of the cost of employing the intern, with the business contributing the rest. Over 45 students and recent graduates are already taking part in the scheme, which started in June 2015.
Companies that have been involved in the scheme are from across the East Midlands, including Nottingham, Newark, Edwalton, Keyworth, Carlton, Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Lockington in Leicestershire.
Many of the businesses involved in the Nottingham Internship Scheme, along with students and staff, met recently to celebrate the success of the project at an event in Nottingham.
Dean Boyle, Chief Executive of Ekkosense, a Nottingham based company which specialises in developing software and remote sensing solutions for monitoring critical environments, is taking part in the internship programme. Dean said: “At EkkoSense we have taken on two students through the scheme, both of whom are doing very well and are adding value to the business. There are lots of potentially interesting careers for graduates in small businesses, and I think that initiatives like the Nottingham Internship Scheme help to give them a flavour of the kinds of jobs that are available.”
Protolan from Derby, which provides manufacturing expertise to the food and drink industry, is enabling students to gain experience as Project Managers or Engineers within the food and drink manufacturing sector. Jenny Banks from Protolan, said: “The interns have worked with senior team members and our clients playing a pivotal role in project progression and as a result have gained valuable work experience. Our placements have been extremely successful and this month we have employed a graduate on a full time basis who interned last summer which we are delighted about.
“Working with the team at the University has been a pleasure and they have been very supportive, guiding us through the recruitment process where necessary. We would recommend the Internship programme to any businesses considering this as an option as it allows you to mentor the interns in their chosen career paths.”
Skills for the future
Sophie Glaas is an intern on the University programme, who is working at Sport Lived in Nottingham, a company which provides sporting gap years for students. She said: “My internship has been a great experience. I was thrown right into the deep end from the start which has both built my confidence and taught me a vast amount. The skills I have learnt here are something which I will definitely carry with me into the future.”
Students from all the faculties at The University of Nottingham are taking part in the Nottingham Internship Scheme, with 18 of them being graduates from this year.
As part of the process, students experience real life application, assessment and interview processes. Selection is managed by the business, with support from the Careers and Employability Service offered where requested, for example with interview space on campus.
Opportunities in smaller businesses
Speaking about the project, Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability for the University, said: “We are extremely pleased that so many local SMEs are involved in our internship scheme. Businesses benefit from recruiting interns because they provide specialist expertise and skills; while for our students and graduates, the experience provides a chance to take a look at the kinds of opportunities that are available for them in smaller businesses.”
The Careers and Employability Service offer in-depth support to students through all stages of the recruitment process, including; providing advice on how to write a strong application, help with their CV, interview support and guidance on who they should apply to in line with their longer term career aspirations.
Chris Colegate, Nottingham Internship Scheme Manager, added: “The interns get a fantastic insight into a job role that they may wish to pursue once they graduate. Working for a smaller company, they receive great exposure to different areas of the business and often have the opportunity to work alongside business founders and managing directors. This exposure is great for building both technical ability and softer skills such as commercial awareness”
For more details about how to take part in the Nottingham Internship Scheme, contact Chris Colegate from the University’s Careers and Employability Service, on 07813 531420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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