An internship initiative at the University of Nottingham is creating job opportunities for students that encourage them to stay in the city after graduation and contribute to its future economic prosperity.

The Nottingham Internship Scheme has placed more than 850 students and graduates with local companies in the last six years, leading to around 10 per cent of interns being offered permanent employment at the end of their placement.

The scheme offers grant funding to local businesses and organisations to create the paid internships, which provide them with skilled and motivated individuals, while offering students and graduates valuable work experience.

Chris Colegate, Careers and Employability Placement Consultant for the University, said: “It’s great to see and hear about the positive impact our interns make and, in return, what organisations can give to our students in terms of future employability.

“A number of internships have led on to permanent employment and this can be a real boost for graduate retention in the city.”

This summer, 109 University of Nottingham students and graduates have been placed with 83 SMEs and charities with the interns undertaking a variety of four- to 12-week placements in role including software engineer, transport analyst, marketing assistant, ecologist, data scientist copywriter and business analyst.

One growing business that has been involved in the scheme for a number of years is Go Dine, an online restaurant guide, booking service and digital marketing agency based in the Lace Market. It has two internships working there this summer, Megan Bowie, a 2nd-year English student and Christopher Hamilton who is in his second year of studying for a degree in philosophy and theology.

Christopher said: “It has been really beneficial to stay in Nottingham over the summer since I intend to stay here after I graduate, so it has given me insight into the companies that exist here and what kind of work they do.

“I would definitely recommend taking part in the scheme to any student as it is a fantastic opportunity to gain paid work experience in a field of your choice that will help you with your personal development and opportunities in life after university.”

Lisa Carey, a manager at Go Dine, added: “Taking on a student intern is a brilliant opportunity for us to pass on knowledge about what we do, as well as picking up on a new perspective from the students who join us. Both Megan and Chris have brought impressive skills to their respective roles. Participating in the student intern scheme is a no-brainer for our business as there’s plenty to be gained for everyone involved.”

The scheme can also be hugely beneficial to charities, enabling the completion of a project that might not otherwise be done due to constraints on resources. Rural Community Action Nottingham (RCAN) supports rural communities for fair access and inclusion and has recruited geography graduate Thea Harland and postgraduate student Cassandra Lovelock to help with a research-based project.

Jenny Kirkwood from RCAN said: “The calibre of our interns is extremely high. They have brought fresh ideas, consulted with our members to help inform our future provision and are working on a new service for us to be able to sell to partners.”

Cassandra Lovelock said she would definitely recommend the internship to other students: “Working with RCAN has been a fantastic experience – it has really increased my understanding of rural and smaller communities’ needs and being able to help these groups out is incredibly rewarding in itself.”