University and local businesses work together to give students
a head-start in their career
Release Date 05 November 2014
Monday evening (3 November) saw University staff and students, local employers and Mayor of Reading, Cllr Tony Jones, gather at the University's Whiteknights campus to celebrate the Reading Internship Scheme.
The Scheme, which is run by the Careers Service at the University of Reading, in association with Santander Universities SME Programme and The Earley Charity, offers project-based summer internships, providing students with high quality work experience opportunities.
The Scheme focuses on sourcing internships with local small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and has a budget to incentivise organisations financially to take on student interns. Additionally, University of Reading staff are offered a simple framework for recruiting student interns.
This year, the Scheme had a particular focus on competitive areas of employment that traditionally offer unpaid internships, including the cultural and creative sector, the third sector, media and journalism.
Funding was secured to help support students over the summer period, and the University has already secured additional funds to take the project through to 2016.
Jonathan Bainbridge, Job Shop and Internship Co-ordinator at University of Reading, said: "More employers than ever are looking for graduates with work experience. We want our students to be successful after they leave university so it is important to offer them the opportunity to get some real-world experience before they enter the job market.
"This first year of the Reading Internship Scheme has been a great success; we've placed a total of 42 students, and with the extra funding, we have set ourselves a target of 150 placements in 2016. We are currently looking for more local businesses that want to get involved in the Scheme so if anyone is interested please get in touch."
As part of the Scheme, students are provided with pre-placement training and are visited during their placement. At the end, they submit a conference-style poster, giving them the opportunity to reflect on their experience.
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "These internships represent the value of working in partnership with external organisations, and highlight the important relationship between the town of Reading and our University. Today we are able to celebrate how programmes like the Reading Internship Scheme have a positive impact, not only on our students and their career development, but also on Reading and the Thames Valley.
"I am proud to highlight that 93% of our students are in work or education after graduating, 76% of those in work are in professional or managerial positions. Schemes such as this demonstrate the University of Reading's commitment to enhance our students' employability skills."
Manolis Charalampous, a BA Art graduate, took a placement with Earley Crescent Community Association developing a website: "It's been a great opportunity to develop my skills in web development and design and the perfect stepping stone in my career path. It confirmed my interest in working in this industry, enriched my experiences and helped secure my current position at Microsoft."
Tessa Deakin, a BA English Literature and Language graduate, worked as a marketing intern at local charity Connect Reading. Clare Wright, Managing Director of Connect Reading, said: "It was great having Tessa over the summer. It worked out so well that we managed to secure extra funding to keep her on for an additional three months; we are very pleased."
For more information about the Reading Internship Scheme, please click here.