#UniForReading: Students and local businesses benefit from University internship scheme in lockdown12 August 2020
Students and local businesses have continued to benefit from the University of Reading's intern scheme, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Reading Internship Scheme offers students 4-8 week project-based placements with local small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which would otherwise be hard to find. These internships allow students to develop their transferable skills, while employers benefit from extra support and a fresh perspective on a project.
The Scheme, which is run by the Careers Service at the University of Reading, in association with Santander Universities and The Earley Charity, has placed more than 400 students into paid placements since it began in 2013. The Scheme also offers full/partial grants to host employers to support with salary costs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the Scheme has been offering fully funded internships to all local businesses and these have been operated remotely due to lockdown measures. 100 students were placed with local businesses this year and both students and employers alike have had a positive experience.
For the first time this year, the Scheme has also introduced a living cost bursary model, which is designed for undergraduates who are registered with the University's disability service or receive the Reading Bursary, and who have secured a 4-6 week, unpaid, extracurricular internship. This arm of the Reading Internship Scheme has so far supported a further eight students.
Holly Forsyth, Reading Internship Scheme Coordinator, said: "The scheme supports our community of students and employers by providing a platform where they can connect through 4-8 week internships. Offering virtual internships and 100% funding through COVID-19 has enabled us to work with many more businesses and students, to ensure we are supporting our communities through this difficult time. The bursary was new for this year but has enabled us to support those students who secure their own internships which are unpaid, with a living cost bursary."
Alyssa Letton is a third year Management and Business student who worked as a digital marketing intern at Continuity Partner. Speaking of her internship, she said: “I was always busy during my internship, but never felt overburdened. I took on a wide range of tasks, for example, interviewing residents about building safety issues, video editing and helping to drive Twitter engagement. I learned so much in my short time with Continuity Partner, including building safety issues currently impacting the industry, what it means to be an entrepreneur and using marketing to drive business growth. I am very grateful to Matt and Richard for what I have learned and giving me this opportunity.”
Lara Plaxton from GotDis, a platform which closes the relationship gap between emerging talent and established talent, had a Reading student working with them this year. She said: "The quality of candidates who applied for the position has been exceptional and the successful candidate has been integral to not only our marketing activity, which she was brought on to do, but also helping us to develop our business model, product design and strategy given her strong commercial acumen and enthusiasm to take on all the challenges and opportunities we were able to offer."
With around a quarter of students from the University remaining in the local area to live and work following graduation, and many more staying in the London and Thames Valley region, the Reading Internship Scheme provides valuable experience and networking opportunities for students and employers alike.
The University of Reading is proud to be part of the town of Reading and makes a valuable contribution to the local area. We work closely with local community groups and organisations to support the wider objectives of the town.
Find out more about the ways that the University works in partnership with Reading organisations here and businesses here, and the economic and social contribution that the University makes to the Thames Valley region here.
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