University of Sunderland announces 150 graduate internships

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Published: Monday, 21 May 2012 Category:


Graduates in the North East are getting a helping hand up the career ladder thanks to a paid internship scheme run by Sunderland University.

The initiative has been running since 2009 and will now be extended for a further two years after a cash injection from the European Regional Development Funding (ERDF).

150 more graduates will get the opportunity to work with a variety of small and medium-sized businesses across the region.

The scheme has already benefited over 110 Sunderland graduates, 85% of which have been offered full-time employment or a contract extension.

Under the work experience programme, graduates get a minimum term contract of six months with local employers. Sunderland University also works closely with employers to ensure graduates’ needs are met.

Commenting on the success of the scheme, David Donkin, Associate Director of research, innovation and employer engagement at the university, said: “This scheme is proving that graduates can make a difference to business, during turbulent economic times.

“It’s also helping to retain graduate talent in the region in local organisations and crucially, helping to create and strengthen relationships between the university and business.”

Businesses taking part in the scheme get a financial contribution and graduates are paid a minimum salary of £14,859.

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland Committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “ERDF funding for this scheme for smaller companies makes it a very cost-effective way of bringing in new talent, energy and ideas to projects at a difficult time.”

If you are keen to secure an internship to help your chances of getting a graduate job, follow the tips below:

Market your skills

The market for an unpaid, or expenses only, internship still remains fiercely competitive and it’s critical to show off your range of skills and the attributes you can offer a company. Brush up your CV and tailor it to suit the position you’re applying for. You can also try enhancing up your application with a show reel or blog for vacancies in the media industry. It is also worth ensuring that you highlight any skills you gained as part of your course of study, such as essay writing skills or working to tight deadlines.

Go the extra mile to find an internship

While some internship opportunities are advertised at agencies such as Inspiring Interns, others may only be in the speculative stages. Cold calling companies to find out if they need an extra pair of hands for a few days/weeks could translate into an ongoing internship.

Show that you are keen

When you’re interviewed for a work experience opportunity, make it clear that you are available immediately and that you are willing to put in anti-social hours if the job demands it. If you have just sent off your CV for an internship, give the company a follow-up call and ask when they will be short-listing candidates. This will force employers to dig your CV out of their inbox.

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Paul Champion

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Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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