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Record numbers of small businesses benefit from University internship scheme

Record numbers of small businesses benefit from University internship scheme

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Almost 50 organisations are benefiting from a University of Nottingham internship initiative designed to help local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) tap into student expertise.

The Nottingham Internship Scheme has flourished over the last three years, culminating in the placement of over 80 interns this summer, almost double the number from last year. 48 different organisations have been involved, each receiving approximately 40% of the cost of employing the intern.

Interns have joined businesses to deliver on specific projects, provide support during periods of busy workload and bring in specialist technical expertise. In many cases the businesses are hoping to retain their intern as a permanent member of staff after the 8-12 week period.

Range of roles
The variety of opportunities within this year’s scheme reflects the breadth of courses available across The University of Nottingham. Interns have joined businesses in roles ranging from manufacturing engineer to software developer; ecologist to digital marketing executive; organisational psychologist to laboratory assistant and many more.

The founder of one of the companies that has benefited, Andrew Norton, from the MediCity based business, Snap Nutrition, said: “In our current position being a start-up organisation - we need all hands on deck and 100% work ethic and dedication and that's what we have got with our two interns Junaid and Josh. They both bring a great work ethic and can do attitude, which for me is a constant reminder to keep pushing myself. If all goes to plan I aim to retain both of them.”

Harnessing young local talent
Gareth Bidder, Programme Manager for Bizfitech, the business finance technology group, added:  “Here at Bizfitech we’re keen to harness young, local talent and as testament to this we’ve taken interns from Nottingham for a second year. We’re of the view that our interns are full members of the team. Dealing with the University has been excellent, and we were impressed with the short-listing conducted on our behalf which enabled us to focus on interviewing. We look forward to being part of the internship scheme in 2017.”

The University of Nottingham has invested in training the interns prior to the start of their placement, to help them further develop skills such as; project management, communication, stakeholder management and negotiation skills. The interns themselves have also been finding the experience extremely beneficial.

Invaluable experience
Chris Parker, interning with Go Dine Ltd, said: “Working for a small business is an invaluable experience and is something I would recommend to anyone who is looking to do an internship. I have found that there are lots of opportunities to take on responsibility. The work I am doing is having a genuine impact on the overall development of the company which is fantastic”

Another intern, Arjun Walapu, who is working with the electronics design company, Coriel, said: “Every day I am working on something different, and facing a new set of challenges. Through the internship I am constantly expanding my knowledge, in my area of study, and also my knowledge of how a business operates and the components required for it to be successful”

Chris Colegate, the Nottingham Internship scheme manager said: “We are seeing increasing demand from businesses in our internship scheme, it is excellent to see so many businesses in the D2N2 area being pro-active in graduate and student recruitment.

Demand on the rise
“Demand from students and graduates is also on the rise," added Chris. "They recognise that SMEs and charities provide excellent exposure in fast paced environment, and they allow our interns to have a real tangible impact on a business. Each year we see more and more interns being retained as permanent members of staff!”

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 emailchris.colegate@nottingham.ac.uk

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