Building local skills through the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme

Building local skills through the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme


 Case study by Santander Universities

Through this programme, penultimate and final-year students, as well as recent graduates, can apply for a paid 3-month internship at an SME with the possibility in many cases of getting a permanent contract at the end of the internship.

Santander contributes to the programme by paying half of the 3-month salary whilst the SME, and in some cases, the University pays the other half. Through an online database both students and SMEs can register their interest. The role of the university is to match those students best suited to each particular internship.

In the 2012-13 edition of the programme Santander Universities announced 500 internships and increased the number offered 1,500 in 2013-4 and 2,000 in 2014-15. So far 2,200 internships have been awarded and the bank is now working with 77 UK universities. Last year, 424 interns found a permanent job through this programme. Since the start of the programme 60% of students went on to further employment after their internship period.

A good example of the programme is Northern Planners.

Northern Planners are a consultancy offering planning and environmental services and advice, based in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. The team deliver services to clients across the UK for large and smallscale residential, commercial, renewable energy and other development projects.

Through the University of Leeds Internship Programme, Northern Planners recruited Sophie Cattlin, a BSc Geography graduate from the University of Leeds. Sophie was recruited as an intern for 3 months as part of the Santander Universities Internship Programme. As part of her degree Sophie was involved in numerous environmental projects and was keen to further her experience in this area. The internship provided an excellent opportunity for Sophie to gain valuable hands on experience in the environmental sector.

During the internship Sophie was involved in a wide variety of work for Northern Planners. Working with the Chartered Town Planner, Ecologists and a Landscape Architect, Sophie was responsible for coordinating and delivering planning and environmental reports for clients as well as monitoring project programmes and requirements. She was also involved with organising and monitoring aspects of the Internal EMS (Environmental Management System) ensuring that the company meets the programmes objectives and targets.

Sophie said: “The Internship offered at Northern Planners appealed to me as it involved work in the planning and environmental sector, an area which I was keen to learn more about. I feel that I have gained numerous benefits from my three months at Northern Planners including learning about the role consultancy firms play in the business sector as well as improving my report writing and GIS skills. As a result of this internship I am keen to pursue a career in this sector and am grateful for the opportunity that the Internship programme provided”

Following the 3 month internship Northern Planners decided to offer Sophie continued employment with the company.

Senior Planner Mick McLoughlin said “It’s great to be able to keep Sophie on for a while longer. The internship has been an excellent opportunity to get to know a young graduate’s skills and abilities and for them to deliver real benefit to the company and their own employability”.

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