Developing student employability through the UCL SME internship programme
As part of UCL’s commitment to enterprise engagement this summer’s internship programme seeks to develop student employability skills by funding more than 100 eight to ten week internship placements in local, high-potential, entrepreneurial SMEs.
EnterThe scheme is designed to match SME needs to the skills and ambition of UCL students, ensuring that company hosts gain tangible benefits that help their businesses progress. To support the process UCL hosts a dedicated recruitment fair - enabling companies and students to identify suitable partners and projects.
In addition to new skills and experience students receive a tax-free training allowance of £250 per week for the full time internship with the SME. All students also benefit from a 3 day preparatory Enterprise Bootcamp which explores contemporary issues in modern business world and contributes to the development of analytical, team-working and presentation skills to support the placement.
Further details of the scheme can be found here.
Case Study: Cause4 internship: a perfect fit
“Cause4 gives me just the right combination of social cause and business. I can work for the good for people, and enjoy the pressure and drive to perform that can sometimes be lacking in charities. It’s just right”. Michael Button, UCL student
Soon to graduate, UCL student Michael Button (BA European Social and Political Studies (History and French) 2013), was seeking work that would make a real difference to people. Following his application to the UCL internship scheme, he gained a placement with Cause4 (www.cause4.co.uk), a social business set up to support charities, philanthropists and social enterprises.
At four years old, Cause4 had made it through the early trials that test every start-up and was facing the problems that come with the next stage: growth. The major challenge was to manage staff – including recruitment, training and new-starter induction – whilst maintaining the smooth service customers had come to expect.
Michelle Wright, Cause4 Founder and Chief Executive Officer, was keen to expand. “We wanted to turn Cause4 into the ‘go-to’ company for people seeking support with philanthropic fundraising. There is enormous potential,” she said, “but the team was overstretched in coping with demand.”
Michael’s placement was an immediate boost to the business. “From day one, he demonstrated real entrepreneurial ability,” said Michelle. “We took him straight into a big client meeting, and I was impressed. He had thoroughly researched who he was meeting and had even created a structure to manage a complex project.” He soon established his own project on researching digital solutions for small charities.
Michael also helped to formalise graduate training within Cause4, drafting scripts about the background of the company for an hour’s chat with new starters. And he turned his hand to soft marketing, posting news and opinion articles to Cause4’s new website.
Within weeks of starting his internship, Michael was invited to join Cause4 full-time.
UCL Advances: perfect partner Already familiar with UCL Advances through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Business Mentoring programmes, this new collaboration was a breakthrough for Cause4.
With support from the internship scheme they secured an exceptional addition to their team – and they hope Michael will be the first of many. Cause4 now has 30 graduates in place and supports them on a smooth, direct development track.
And Michael is delighted to have found a job he loves within the charitable sector.
Enterprise Educators UK is the national network for enterprise educators. Our purpose is simple - to support our members to increase the scale, scope and effectiveness of enterprise and entrepreneurship education and our vision is to be internationally acknowledged as the leading independent membership network developing and empowering enterprise educators. SBC invited us to provide examples of what some of our members are up to and we chose the theme around student enterprise which reflects the student facing start-up support element in the SBC Award. Over the next few months you will hear from three of our SBC Gold Award holders: UCL, Lancaster University and Leeds University.