Case study

SPF2020: University of Sunderland - Internships and Enterprise Projects

25 Feb 2020

An ERDF-funded project that places graduates into SMEs and supports student and graduate entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas.

The project has two core elements. The first relates to the placement of internships and corresponding subsidies offered to SMEs to employ graduate interns. This places graduates into graduate-level jobs for a 12-month period, initially to work on a development project. By mitigating financial and other associated risks, the project allows first-time graduate recruiters to test the benefit of employing highly skilled staff prior to making a significant commitment. Of those placed, 89% go on to be employed by their host company after the placement. Companies report significant knowledge exchange benefits to the programme.

The second element focuses on new enterprise; supporting student or graduate entrepreneurs from any discipline to set up their own businesses by providing a safe environment to research and test their ideas. By providing advice, space and funding for students (and subsequently graduates) wishing to pursue self-employment, it has led to an increase in the number of start-up businesses in the city and region. The resulting businesses turned over £2.6m in 2018-19, with several going on to recruit their own graduate interns. The project has also helped attract seed funding for student businesses from private and third-sector organisations.