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The University of Southampton

Engaging with future leaders: how business is tapping into the University’s talent

Published: 9 March 2010

Businesses in the region are benefiting from the University of Southampton’s largest ever drive to offer its students ‘on-the-job’ work experience.

A number of placement opportunities, across all programmes and areas of study, currently give students and regional businesses the opportunity to join forces to take advantage of fully or partly-funded internships.

More than 60 businesses are now participating in the schemes, including Southampton Airport Parkway, Microsoft and Santander, and organisers hope more will follow suit.

Last week, the University, in partnership with Southampton Solent University, the University of Winchester and Graduate Jobs South, won a slice of £128,000 from the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to create 80 fully funded internships.

Caroline Konrad, Head of Employer Engagement within the University’s Career Destinations service, comments: “Our students are highly qualified, intelligent and ambitious to succeed. A core part of our ‘Global Graduates’ strategy is to expand ‘on-the-job’ experience for our students, be they undergraduate or postgraduate, which will compliment their studies.

“All placement programmes coordinated by the University include an induction for interns. We also provide ongoing supervision and support throughout the placement.”

Internships normally run between 4 and 12 weeks and take place over the summer period, although some are designed to be flexible to the needs of each business.

Ian Rowley, who heads the University’s summer placement programme for Masters students, adds, “Senior managers value our students’ analytical skills and fresh perspectives on business issues; one even managed to identify £1m in cost savings at a large investment bank.

“We now need more employers to offer placements for our postgraduate students and recent alumni. They will be guided and supported by our leading academics and Career Destinations service.” The estimated total cost to employers for a three month placement ranges from £1,500 to £3,500 dependent on the scheme.

For businesses interested in working with the University of Southampton’s students and graduates, please contact:

Notes for editors

1. Internship schemes currently running within the University of Southampton’s Career Destinations Service:

  • Graduate Internships (funded by HEFCE)
  • 80 internships available. Each business will receive £1350 towards an intern’s salary. For more details visit the Graduate Jobs South website:
  • Postgraduate internships
  • Career Destinations is seeking to create bespoke placements and / or external projects for the University’s postgraduate research students. Projects can be undertaken at any time of year dependent on a company’s business needs.
  • In conjunction, the Management Science and Operational Research programme is seeking sponsors for its students to undertake three month summer projects. Companies will also receive the support of leading academics in the project.
  • Widening participation 
  • Open to students from low income backgrounds, this fully University funded scheme provides 4 week placements with alumni employers over the Easter or July period. Now entering its second year, the programme has expanded from 4 to 18 placements. Participating employers include the NHS Hampshire and Pfizer pharmaceuticals. 
  • Excel Southampton
  • The Internship programme is now in its second year and provides internships for students over 12.5 weeks from 1 July to 25 September. Funding this year has been secured to double the triple placements from 5 to 15 and include Southampton Airport Parkway and Cummins Turbo Technologies.
  • Microsoft STEM-UEN
  • A programme sponsored by Microsoft and organised by STEM-UEN has been launched this year with the University of Southampton among four participating universities. Other participating universities are Oxford, and Reading. STEM student applicants will be matched with SMEs who are Microsoft partner companies based within the South East region. Students will work on a specific project for the SME for 8 weeks during July and August 2010.
  • Santander
  • Santander is a supporter of the University of Southampton’s Global Careers Initiative, enabling the University to focus on the need for students to get relevant work experience in the UK and abroad. As part of this, two Santander Universities’ internships will be offered in the Madrid Office with each successful student supported in the form of a bursary to assist with their relocation. 
  • Graduate internships
  • A 1-year fixed term contract offered to four graduates and designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to add value within a Higher Education setting. These placements are on campus and the programme is now entering its second year. 
  • STEM
  • Sponsored by Microsoft and organised by STEM-UEN, the newly launched programme is open to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) student applicants from the University of Southampton Hertfordshire, Oxford, and Reading. Successful applicants will be matched with SMEs who are Microsoft partner companies based within the South East region. 

2. Across all programmes and areas of study at the University, there are a number of student placement opportunities, examples include:

  • Organic Chemistry Summer School: Unique in the UK, the programme is a collaboration between the School of Chemistry and the chemical industry. Twenty month-long placements are offered to second year UG students.
  • The School of Social Sciences offers placements entitled ‘Practice Learning Opportunities’ through Social Work, which offers a professional qualification with a practical element.
  • NHS placements are an integrated part of the School of Medicine’s Bachelor of Medicine programmes and all are embedded within the curriculum. Almost 250 students are involved in the programme.


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