Harwell Campus Joint Venture has forged a strong partnership with Santander Bank, not only for the refinancing of future developments and expansion of the campus but through participation in an innovative Internship Scheme that Santander has been running for eight years now.
In collaboration with a network of universities, the Santander Universities SME Programme supports students and graduates, helping them to gain professional experience, to boost their career prospects. So far, the scheme has helped over 10,000 young people in the UK as well as helping employers and employees across Harwell Campus.
Simon Poulter, Relationship Manager, Santander Universities and responsible for managing the scheme said “Our growing engagement with Harwell Campus as part of the Santander SME Internship Programme, has enabled us to place a number of graduate interns inside campus organisations, providing them with excellent STEM career pathways into employment. Since the programme launched in 2012, via our unique partnership with universities in the UK, it has supported 12,000 interns into 9,000 UK SME's. In the 2018/19 academic year alone, our programme supported 1861 interns, 52% of whom gained permanent job roles, delivering skills benefits to the 1459 employers who participated in the scheme.”
According to the Guardian’s Amelia Hill, new graduates face the toughest employment market in 75 years, incidentally the lifespan of Harwell Campus. In fact, graduate openings fell by 77% since the beginning of the year. The Harwell Campus Management team wanted to make a positive impact, by employing its first intern, Liam Joyce, as a sandwich placement student during his advertising studies at the University of Bournemouth.
With the help of the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme, Liam was offered a year’s placement as a Marketing intern with Harwell Campus Management, giving him exposure to a wide range of marketing activities. He became a ‘Nxt Gen’ Ambassador which promotes and supports early career professionals on campus through a series of professional and social networking activities and has returned to Bournemouth University for his final year, with the offer of a full-time Marketing Assistant role when he graduates in 2021.
Liam commented, “It was a truly incredible experience and taught me so much. I am thankful for the opportunity and I’m particularly excited to know that I have a future role inside this innovative and special hub of research and innovation.”
Liam’s departure paved the way for a second intern, Libby Makin who studied at Cardiff University, graduating with a BSc Psychology degree in 2018. After working in a variety of different roles after leaving University, Libby changed career direction from Psychology to Marketing. Cardiff University support students on this programme for up to two years after they graduate and proactively encourages students seeking new career paths.
Libby was offered a year’s Marketing Internship with Harwell Campus Management, joining the team in September 2020 and is now responsible for marketing activity including taking the lead on a Wellbeing Champion Programme that was recently launched.
Libby said, “This placement has given me the chance to re-shape my career and gain invaluable experience in the field of marketing. I’m grateful that the University of Cardiff is wholly supportive of students who perhaps follow one career direction and then decide to adapt and change to a new career which may have more employment openings for them. I believe students need to maintain a flexible outlook in today’s employment market, to ensure they find rewarding careers after university.”
Internships like these are not only beneficial for the student, but provide employers with the ideal route for attracting young people into roles, enabling them to gauge if the student would be suitable for development into a longer term role inside the organisation, if an opening is available. Adopting the scheme as part of their overall Corporate Social Responsibility programme is a demonstrable way in which employers can invest in graduates, offering them industry skills and expertise that they can guild their CV with.
Fiona Smart, Head of Marketing at Harwell Campus Management has fully embraced and helped promote the Santander Universities Internship Scheme on campus saying, “The internship scheme has been a great success for us, giving the Marketing and PR team much needed resource at a moment in time when our organisation is rapidly expanding. We have very much enjoyed mentoring our students and appreciate the youthful outlook and skills they have brought to the team. We are very grateful to Santander Bank for their financial support in part funding these placements and together with Bournemouth and Cardiff Universities, helping to invest in the next generation of marketing and communications specialists.”
Santander is continuing to support employment and skills for young people next year through the updated Santander Universities Employability Scheme.