An internship programme launched by The University of Nottingham has trebled in size to support more small businesses and charities across the county.
The scheme places University of Nottingham students in paid internships during holidays using funding from Santander Universities and other sources to support the host organisations.
Its success has seen student numbers grow from 22, when it started in 2014, to more than 80 during summer 2016 and has led to a new two-week programme being set up for the spring break.
The scheme enables interns to gain crucial work experience, build their skills and develop business contacts, whilst providing them with an insight in to working life in Nottinghamshire.
Twenty companies are currently hosting more than 40 student interns to undertake a specific project. The host organisations include start-up businesses, established SMEs and charities.
A range of projects
The spring internships offer organisations access to two or three talented students. The Easter break gives them a window where they can bring in people to deliver fresh ideas and add value to their organisation through a key piece of work.
Examples include; developing a fundraising strategy for Rainbow Parents Carers Forum, undertaking market research for Age UK Notts, carrying out an Impact Research project for Mansfield Play Forum and creating a Digital Marketing Strategy for MAD Brands, a new start up based in Medicity.
Chris Colegate Careers and Employability Placement Consultant at The University of Nottingham has led the development of scheme since inception.
He said: “Expanding the Nottingham Internship Scheme offer not only allows our students more opportunity to gain work experience and build their employability skills, it also allows The University of Nottingham to support local charities and small companies to bring in talent at a different time of year, a time when they need it.
“Students will be working hard over a condensed period to deliver something tangible for their host organisation. It’s a great way for the students to access work experience at a different time of year and a fantastic opportunity for an organisation to get something done.”
The University of Nottingham’s long-standing relationship with Santander Universities has enabled the growth of the Nottingham Internship Scheme.
Thanks to this funding support every intern is paid for the duration of the spring internship and participating organisations incur no costs for being involved.
Jonathan Powell, University Relationship Director at Santander Universities, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK.
“The importance of preparing students for their first job is high on our agenda and one of the reasons that in 2017, we’ll be helping more students secure an internship with local SMEs than ever before.
“As a result, this will help to improve the employability of young people across the UK as well as help local businesses access new skills and talent.”
Final year English and French student, Molly Watters, is currently interning at Kinetik Wellbeing under Sales Director James Grover.
Mr Grover said: “With our brands Kinetik Wellbeing and Love My Skin being so marketing focused, it is vital for us to keep creative. Our team are the best way for us to do that, we’re always looking for good ideas. Internships are a flexible, cost effective and innovative way for a small business to gain this fresh perspective.
“Thus far as a business we’re confident that with the right people internships can add real value in a short time. Not to mention giving us early access to some of the new minds coming through the University.”
Molly added: “I was excited to apply to the scheme, as it is a first for Nottingham and it is a great way to fill up some of the long Easter break in a productive way.
“I am currently working on a huge piece of work and there are so many aspects to the project, from research to market reviews; branding; marketing and advertising. I'm learning a lot about how the business is run in general too, which I find fascinating.”
Retaining graduate talent
The University of Nottingham is working with key partners to support activity that will increase graduate retention in the city. This initiative acts as another mechanism to allow students to explore what working life in the city is like and to start making a connection early on with what the city has to offer in terms of future careers.
Nicolas Swanepoel, a 2nd year Industrial Economics student interning for Nottingham Bikeworks, is enjoying working with the business so much, he has offered to volunteer there after his internship finishes.
He said: “The Nottingham Bikeworks Internship appealed to me the most, as I have my own small business and wanted to learn more about marketing strategies within a small business environment.
“My host said that he didn’t expect anything massive to be created in the short space of time but hoped that along with the other student interns, I could produce useful ideas and plans to increase sales and the business’ name among students.
“I asked my host if I could continue volunteering at Nottingham Bikeworks after the Internship finishes, to take my ideas and plans to the next stage, to which they said they are happy for me to stay for as long as I wish to.”
“Even before coming to university I always thought that I would go abroad after my studies and never really thought about staying in the area post-graduation but this internship has made me realise that there is no reason for students not to stay in the area as the opportunities are there.”
The Careers and Employability Service will now begin work on the summer internship scheme. Over 90 interns will be joining local organisations during June and July.
For more details about how to get involved as a business or student, contact Chris Colegate from the University’s Careers and Employability Service, on 07813 531420, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…