University graduates
University graduates

An internship programme at Plymouth University has received £75,000 to strengthen the offer of employability opportunities to their students and graduates, while supporting local small to medium sized businesses.

The money has been provided through the Santander Universities scheme, which is a global education and employability enhancing initiative. 

The internships are managed by Plymouth University Careers & Employability Service, which launched its own graduate recruitment service – Catalyst – last year. 

Remy Foucher, Catalyst Graduate and Internship Project Manager, said:

“Essentially, we’re bridging the gap between the needs of small to medium sized employers and student and graduate aspiration. We’ve got a great view of different recruitment markets and of student expectations around things like salary, and we’re able to share that insight and knit the two together.”

The recruitment service offers live access to employer opportunities and vacancies for final-year students and recent graduates, and access to information and training for students and recent graduates in areas such as CV writing and interview techniques.

Liaising directly with employers, the service replicates the role of an internal recruitment agency holding pre-selection tests for students and graduates, and setting up assessment centres and recruitment days for the employer to meet and interview the students and graduates.

The internships are part-funded by Santander, allowing the university to offer local companies £1,500 towards the cost of staff salary. The scheme also has close links to the University’s Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN) which encourages small business growth. 

Emma Parker, University Relationship Branch Manager, Santander, said: 

“At Santander, we want to build on our strategic alliance with universities benefiting both students and the local community. We have already seen some good results through this programme and hope this extra cash boost will result in more success stories with local employers.”

With nearly 70 per cent of interns recruited through the programme staying with their employer and moving into permanent jobs, and with 4,000 followers on Facebook, Catalyst has no shortage of people interested in working with it. 

Remy adds: 

“By helping our students and graduates find work and internships, we’re supporting local businesses and helping to inject new talent and fresh ideas into the local economy.”

So far, more than 45 South West businesses have benefited through the scheme, and this year, the University will look to support a further 100 interns.