From education to employment

University of Bristol offers businesses 100 fully funded internships

The COVID-19 SME Internship Fund is open to any small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) – including charities, social enterprises and start-ups – hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The internships will then be offered to current University of Bristol students or those who have graduated in the last 15 months.

The University hopes the fund will help struggling organisations while giving students at the Bristol institution vital work experience.

A similar scheme run by the University last year saw more than 100 applications from SMEs, including Lettus Grow, Indus Four, Learning with Parents, Stornaway, Gapsquare, Scribeless and Bristol24/7.

Martin Booth, Editor at Bristol24/7, said: “We were delighted to welcome a University of Bristol graduate to Bristol24/7. She made a tangible difference to our small editorial team and was an integral part of our newsgathering operations despite the challenges of remote working.

“To have the opportunity for a funded internship is one that we will undoubtedly take again. I have no doubt that the calibre of both University of Bristol students and recent graduates will once again ensure that we can give them invaluable real-world experience while they become a genuine asset to the work that we do.”

Last year 100 University of Bristol students interned at local SMEs thanks to the scheme. The University received more than 2,000 applications from SMEs, students and recent graduates.

Joe Abbott interned at Scribeless, a tech start-up company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced printing technology to create handwritten letters. Scribeless was launched in 2018 with the help of the University of Bristol’s Careers Service.

He said: “Having just completed my integrated master’s degree in chemistry, I was able to use the analytical and research skills I developed to transition smoothly into a role in data analytics and marketing strategy.  

“With no prior experience of marketing, and little knowledge of how a start-up like Scribeless runs day-to-day, I was able to see the inner workings of the business and the hard work that the team does to ensure the quality of products are continually improving and being delivered to happy customers.”

Last year’s success has led to the scheme being expanded. It is now also open to those beyond Bristol if they can offer remote working.

Preference for funding will go to organisations which show how they have adapted to the pandemic and how they will benefit from hosting an intern. Meanwhile extra credit will go to applicants who can keep the intern on beyond the funding period.

Professor Sarah Purdy, The University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience, said: “We’ve been funding student internships for nearly 10 years at the University of Bristol, as we do all we can to support our students to be as employable as possible.

“It’s been great to hear first-hand not just how much the students enjoy their time at these SMEs, but also how their skills and fresh approach can really make an impact to the organisations involved.”

Of the £125,000 fund, £75,000 was donated by generous University of Bristol alumni.

For more information on the internship scheme, visit the Careers Service webpage.

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