UWE Bristol launches Green Intern scheme funding for local businesses

Issue date: 16 June 2014

A green shoot pushing through soil.

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has launched a new funding scheme during Big Green Week to help local businesses to recruit graduate interns. The new special Green internship scheme will enable businesses to develop green policies and practices. The scheme is one of the ideas created by the university to highlight commitment to Bristol Green Capital 2015.

The internships will be offered to students who have graduated this year and will take place during the summer for a four week period. Ten businesses will each receive £1,000 to pay a graduate to carry out a 'green' project, each with the option to match fund so that the internship duration has the potential to be doubled to eight weeks.

Maggie Westgarth, Head of Careers at UWE Bristol, said, “We recognise that many small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) do not have resources to be as green as they would like to be. We are offering these opportunities to help local SMEs employ graduates to carry out work that will enhance their business through delivering projects that reflect their sustainability agenda. The only criteria we have are that the businesses will be Bristol based and that the projects offered to graduates will enhance the businesses' green credentials.

“The scheme has been developed on the back of numerous other very successful internship schemes that we have devised over the years. UWE runs one of the largest funded internship programmes in the country and has subsidised over 800 regional businesses to offer over 1200 internships since February 2010. Many of the internships that the University has devised have resulted in graduates and students being offered permanent jobs in industries that are traditionally difficult to get into such as the Creative Industries. The rate of conversion from internship to job within the same company averages at 42% across all schemes, however this figure is much higher when we include those that get jobs elsewhere or are freelance

“SME's value the chance to test out skills before committing and internships when managed properly benefit the intern and the business equally. The intern gets valuable work experience that often leads to a permanent graduate job and the company gets additional resource and the chance to establish how much a graduate might offer their business. Nearly 50% of undergraduate interns from 2013 retained part time work either with their internship employer or a different company.”

Hannah Newmarch, Head of Employer Partnership Services in UWE Bristol's Careers Service, helped to set up the scheme, she said, “As a university we do an enormous amount of work to highlight and support green and sustainable agendas so we thought that this would be a really good way of embedding values held up by UWE Bristol in a scheme that would enable businesses to achieve projects that they may not otherwise have had the chance to do. We are not putting any restrictions on the kind of project that a company might want to implement as we do not want to restrict creativity. The sole requirement is that graduate must be working in a role that in some way contributes to the sustainability of the business or the environment surrounding the business.

Businesses hoping to access funding for the UWE Green Internship scheme should register or log-in to their UWE CareerHub account and submit their internship opportunity quoting 'UWE Bristol Green Capital 2015 Grad Internship' in their vacancy title.”

Once the internships have been approved details will be posted on UWE CareerHub.

The launch of this scheme links in with the onset of 'Bristol BIG Green Week' which runs from the 14th -22nd June.

For further information email uweinternships@uwe.ac.uk.

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