Just back from a round table meeting with Nathan Bostock (CEO Santander UK Plc), Prof. Anton Muscatelli (Principal of Glasgow Uni) and a few other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
We discussed some of the problems facing SMEs and from freetobook’s perspective it’s simply access to highly skilled, enthusiastic and clever undergraduates. We don’t have the recruitment resources of large multinationals yet we can provide a unique learning environment for fresh grads…..how do you get that message across?
We were lucky enough to access Glasgow Uni’s great intern programme (Internship Hub) over this summer. They are a really professional and helpful outfit…totally on the ball! It’s also really refreshing to speak to lecturers that are heavily encouraging students to take on internships during their summer holidays, seeing the all round benefits to students, the Uni. and interns alike. Having interviewed quite a few interns I can see that encouragement is clearly taking effect – these grads are keen to get real experience (and we are enjoying access to some great young minds).
Glasgow Uni have fantastic computer science undergraduates and with Santander’s generous part funding of these internships SMEs like us were able to access them. We do need that support to get ourselves in front of these students and ensure they have a choice. Working in an SME offers students a huge variety to tasks and roles to play with, plus responsibility from day one and opportunities to see the immediate effects of their industry… providing real job satisfaction and a fantastic learning environment. Many SMEs are also very close to the Uni’s (freetobook is just 5 minutes walk from Glasgow Uni) so the interns don’t even need to change their alarm clocks!
Santander generously part fund over 2000 placements across Universities in the UK but for us that has sadly changed as they are no longer offering support for interns still studying. Instead the part funding is now only available after graduation, that’s not really any use for us as computing science graduates are overwhelmingly employed by the time they graduate…especially the best. This change may be a result of Santander wanting to link revenue spent on internships directly and immediately with employment – it completes the circle. However, it fails to account of the real value internships can offer SMEs in our sector….helping aspiring SMEs in the tech sector access the very best engineers must be a bet worth making!
Come on Santander, leave aside the corporate need to “show proof” to the CEO and focus on the real long term value delivered….surely this equates to many of your core values?
We currently have 2 interns and are looking to increase that….help us.
Scotland’s Herald newspaper profiled freetobook and our two Glasgow University interns – Read the Article