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Leicester University to offer 500 paid internships a year

The University of Leicester is launching a new programme to create up to 500 paid internships per year. This will provide every campus-based home or EU student with an opportunity to benefit from an internship during their degree.

The new scheme - led by the University’s Career Development Service - is the first of its kind to be offered by any top twenty higher education institution.

Open to undergraduates that join the University in 2014, the scheme will not only enhance employability, but will give Leicester students a valuable insight into what employers expect from graduates joining their business.

Students will have a choice of different industries to work in, and internships will be available for up to 12 weeks locally, regionally and nationally, as well as within the University’s own departments.

All internships will be paid the equivalent of £12,000 to £16,000 per annum pro rata. However, if students decide they want to broker their own internship, bursaries will be available to fund their travel and subsistence.

Bob Athwal, Director of the Career Development Service, said: “Once again the University of Leicester is leading the way on the student experience and employability.

“At Leicester we are absolutely committed to ensuring the student experience includes an internship. This is the route more and more graduate employers are using to feed their talent pipeline, and our promise helps our students respond to this.

“As a University that also attracts such a rich pool of talent, the promise gives us the right platform to showcase this.”

As part of the scheme, all internships will involve an application and selection process, but students will undertake a programme of workshops to help them successfully complete this.

Developed by the Career Development Service, this programme of support is another of the scheme’s benefits and will help students understand the different ways in which employers recruit new staff.

Raj Patel, Engagement Manager for the Career Development Service, said: “Although the promise at Leicester will help our students gain the experience and skills employers look for, we’re trying to do more than just enhance employability.

“The programme that accompanies the promise will help our students understand the ever increasing standards employers have, and will prepare them for life well beyond their degree.

“Crucially, we want our students to be able to adapt to the challenges they face when they leave us so they can compete successfully in a global labour market.”

Amy Cory took part in a pilot nine-month internship programme offered by the University after she graduated.  The current initiative, offering undergraduate students internships while they are still studying, will complement this graduate internship programme.

She said: “Internships are a great way to try out a career and gain relevant employment experience to enhance your CV when applying for graduate roles. I couldn’t look back on my time as an intern at the University more fondly and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the skills and experience I developed there.”

Amy, who went on to take on roles as Press and PR Assistant and  Alumni Communications Officer at the University of Birmingham, added: “The fact that the University of Leicester recognises the importance of internships is a testament to the fantastic experience it provides for its students. In addition to the placement I also benefited from monthly sessions with the University’s Career Development Service which further enhanced my employability and helped me to secure a graduate role in the same industry following my placement.”