James Uffindell

@brightnetwork - the leading platform that unites the next generation of bright talent with global employers and fast growth businesses, today launches the nation’s largest virtual careers experience - Internship Experience UK.

Internship Experience UK will offer three-day internship experiences for all students and graduates across the country to help them gain skills, boost employability and build their network virtually. 

Participants will benefit from direct access to world-leading employers such as Accenture, Alpha FMC, Amazon, Bain, Bloomberg, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Elixirr, EY, Goldman Sachs, Google, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, Macquire, Marks & Spencer, Procter & Gamble, PwC and Vodafone, who will all be delivering training. 

The scheme is a direct and practical response to Coronavirus concerns by educational institutions, university career services and businesses. It aims to support the 800,000 people who will graduate from school or university this year - dubbed the "Corona Class of 2020", this group will disproportionately bear the economic brunt of the virus. 

Bright Network’s recent report, What Do Graduates Want? Data Insights from the Future Workforce, revealed a major drop in confidence and a lack of employment opportunities for the next generation as a result of COVID-19. 

The survey of over 5,000 students found that 63% of students have seen changes such as applications put on pause due to the virus. Almost a third of those who’d already received an offer(29%) have had an internship or graduate job offer withdrawn.

Just 38% of graduates are now confident about securing a grad role, dropping from almost half (49%) before the pandemic struck.

There is evidence that the graduate jobs market has slowed significantly since the onset of the crisis, with The Resolution Foundation warning earlier this month that, without action, an extra 600,000 under 25-year-olds will be reliant on benefits. 

James Uffindell, Founder & CEO of Bright Network, commented: “If you look at the recent research into the economic effects of Coronavirus it is clear that the downturn will be felt most acutely by young people. 

“Our latest Bright Network report revealed the increased stress that students are under - with 83% feeling greater pressure as a result of the pandemic - and the legitimate concerns they have about the current job market. 

“On the road to economic recovery, we need to make sure that the next generation has all the skills, connections and support it can get in identifying opportunities and making the most of them. Internship Experience UK is a truly national coalition effort to do something practical and accessible to address this urgent need. 

“As workplaces across the country have adapted to remote-working, we hope that students and graduates will take advantage of this free virtual internship experience on offer - whatever their background. 

“This experience opens up access to the world’s best employers to students from all walks of life. There’s no limit to the number of people who can benefit from this unique initiative and we welcome everyone to participate, whatever their background.” 

Janine Glasenberg, EMEA Head of Campus Recruiting at Goldman Sachs, commented: “Goldman Sachs are proud to be supporting Bright Network with their new student initiative, Internship Experience UK. Now more than ever businesses need to be investing in upskilling future leaders and we are very much looking forward to supporting the participants on their journey into the world of work.”

Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, commented: “We're always looking for new ways to enhance students' employability and Bright Network's Internship Experience UK supports them at this difficult time. Our students at Durham University are career driven, so I expect this opportunity will be perfect and coming at the right time.” 

Sharon Mehari, Bright Network Member and President of University of Cambridge African Caribbean Society, commented: “Without fail, Bright Network is consistent in their mission to provide amazing opportunities for students to advance in their careers. As the President of Cambridge ACS, I am incredibly fortunate to be supporting the Internship Experience UK. I stand assured that this platform will act as a bridge that connects students with leading employers, provides vital skill sets and helps us build a firm foundation so that we can confidently step into the working world.”

Following a funding round led by Maven Capital that raised £3.5 million, Bright Network has invested £100,000 into the programme to help support the next generation of talent through this uncertain period. 

Free and open to everyone aged 18 and over in the UK, Bright Network’s Internship Experience UK is designed to support those looking for future career opportunities across six core sectors.

It will run from throughout July and content will also be recorded so that students unable to make the live sessions can still participate.

Internship Experience UK is supported by: Accenture; Alpha FMC; Amazon; Aston University; Bain; Bloomberg; Brunel University London; City, University of London; Confederation of British Industry (CBI); Coventry University; De Montford University; Durham University Law School; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Elixirr; EY; Goldman Sachs; Goldsmiths, University of London; Google; The Guardian; Institute of Student Employers; JP Morgan; King’s College London; Lloyds Banking Group; Macquire; Marks & Spencer; Manchester Met University; Newcastle University; Nottingham University; Procter & Gamble; PwC; Queen Margaret University, Scotland; Queen Mary, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; SOAS, University of London; St Andrews University; Swansea University; TechUK; University College London; University of Bath; University of Birmingham; University of Hertfordshire; University of Huddersfield; University of Kent; University of Lincoln; University of London, The Careers Group; University of Nottingham; University of Surrey; University of Warwick Law School; University of York; and Vodafone. 

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