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Businesses look to soak up talent pool

Friday 7 December 2012 5:00

An internship scheme run by a North East university is experiencing a clamour among businesses looking to get involved – including the likes of British Airways and transport giant Arriva.

While the North East workforce shivers its way through a freezing December, the University of Sunderland is still basking in the warmth of its Summer Internship Programme which reported a performance update this week.

The university says it has just completed its third – and most successful – year of running the scheme by attracting 40 businesses to take part, compared to 25 when it first launched in 2010.

British Airways and Arriva both signed up to the Summer Internship Scheme during 2012, lured by the opportunity to tap into the university’s talent pool.

Tonia Scurr, university internship development officer, says: “The scheme offers students practical skills relevant to their studies and real-world experience in their chosen career.

“In the first year we had 25 places, but news of the scheme’s reputation has spread from our regional companies to national organisations, and we have built on that success allowing us to offer 40 placements to our students, with many businesses offering placements year after year.”

Linda Dodsworth, portfolio manager for IT delivery at BA, says the scheme helped the company in a number of ways.

“They allowed us to progress with mobile work which we would have been unable to do without them, since they gave our area increased capacity for the time they were here,” she said. “They provided a new fresh input into the area and gave some of our team the opportunity to extend their own coaching and mentoring skills.

“The placement experience therefore enhanced the understanding of the students and also the skills and sense of wellbeing of our own team members.”

The Summer Internships Scheme is seen as a complementary gateway to the University’s graduate paid internship schemes – The Sunderland Intern Factory and Graduate Internship Scheme.

The placement is open to students usually in their first and second years of study, to ensure they are developing their skills in a real-life working environment and offering them the best opportunity to secure future employment.