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UWE Bristol celebrates student internship success

UWE BristolUWE Bristol’s talented crop of student interns and entrepreneurs were celebrated at a recent award ceremony to mark their achievements.

The awards mark the success of three new initiatives launched by the University’s Employer Partnership Services Team this year: 2012 Undergraduate Internships Scheme, Green Internship Scheme and Enterprise Internship Scheme.

Hannah Newmarch, Head of Employer Partnership Services, explains, “The 2012 Undergraduate Internship Scheme, builds upon several fantastic graduate and undergraduate programmes previously run by UWE Careers. We are keen to enable students to develop their employability skills earlier in their university careers, so they are “Career ready” upon graduation. Studies have shown how students who have engaged in a placement or internship, often do better in their studies and secure better graduate outcomes. In addition, we were keen to support burgeoning entrepreneurs, for whom a safe place to try out a business idea, with a start-up of £1000 could be fundamental for their future success.”

The UWE 2012 Summer Undergraduate Internships Scheme launched in April 2012 and offered nearly 120 employers the opportunity to recruit a student for a summer internship and receive a subsidy from the University of £1000 to help pay their wages.

Student interns were entered into a competition through the submission of a 500 word personal statement reflecting on and analysing the key areas where they had developed particular skills, experience and knowledge during their internship. The task also served as an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their future graduate job applications.

The winners of the awards were able to most demonstrate and critically evaluate what they had learnt and how they might be able to use their experience in the future. The prize-winners received £125 (1st place), £75 (2nd place) and £50 (3rd place).

The UWE 2012 Undergraduate Intern of the Year, sponsored by RSG was won by Phoebe Tye who found her own internship with Plymouth Arts Centre. Phoebe, a final year BA(Hons) Drawing and Applied Arts student was surprised but delighted to have won the award. She said, “I couldn’t believe it, it was an unexpected bonus to win as I’d really enjoyed my time at Plymouth Arts Centre. They weren’t advertising for summer interns, but I decided to approach them directly as I’m from the area and thought it would be a great place to keep my artistic skills fresh during the break. I also thought the experience would give me a broader insight into the career opportunities available to me on graduating.

“I’m thankful to the Employer Partnership Services Team as they assisted me with my cover letter which explained the benefits of the UWE internship scheme to employers. I got an interview and they took me on – it was a great experience and good for networking, I loved the variety of tasks but a real highlight for me was helping to organise the events and activities locally around Nowhereisland and the Cultural Olympiad.”

Second place was won by Emillie Forrest-Jones who spent her internship at Spirit PR and third place by Emma Ward who worked as an intern at the Wedding Secret.

Mike Beesley, CEO of RSG, said, “We are delighted to be sponsoring the UWE Undergraduate Intern of the Year Award. Increasing commercial awareness in young people is key both for their future and that of the UK. Giving students the chance to experience a working environment first-hand through internship schemes such as these helps to give them the skills they need to succeed in business. As an organisation, this is something we feel very strongly about.”

The Green Internship Scheme launched in partnership with the Environmental Technologies iNET, focused on assisting companies and entrepreneurs in the low carbon goods and services sector and builds upon the University’s commitment to provide students with the opportunity to contribute to sustainability in some way throughout their university career. Internships were available to both students studying environment-related disciplines and for environmental companies to employ a student from any discipline.

The Green Intern of the Year Award was sponsored by Rathbone Greenbank Investments. Perry Rudd, Head of Ethical Research at Rathbone Greenbank presented the award to joint winners, Jake Tudge, an Intern at South West Water and Zak Ajia, an Intern at Ecofys. Third place went to Madelaine Culver-Goldstein Intern at Windmill Hill City Farm.

Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor congratulated the three prize winners on their success. He said, The Green Internship Scheme provided opportunities for UWE students to work in some of the most exciting and innovative businesses and NGOs in the country. We look forward to expanding the scheme next year and to offer even more Green Internship opportunities to our students.”

The work of Jack Booth (Lauristons), Liam Brennan (Consult Believe), Nick Reynolds (Colston Consulting), and Kathryn Mitchell (Bristol City Council) was also highly commended and there were employer recommendations for Tianna Cowan, Intern with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and Kamila Tygielska, Intern at UWE Housing.

Five budding student entrepreneurs also benefitted from the opportunity this summer to test out their business ideas through the University sponsored Enterprise Internship Scheme. Each student was allocated £1000 and a desk space in Ezone (Employability and Enterprise Zone) to develop their own business idea over eight weeks. The interns were mentored by Mhairi Threlfall, UWE’s Student Enterprise Adviser and assisted by student, Chris Dalley, co-founder of UWE InnovEnterS (the student innovation and enterprise society).

The Entrepreneur of the Year award was based on a reflective report submitted by students at the end of the eight week period. The standard of entries was high, but Reuben Gaines was announced as the winner for his business V-A-L-V, an interactive music video site.

Reuben was presented with his award by Alan Bailey from Brunel Industries. He said, “Supporting this award is very important to Brunel Industries as we need to support the innovators and entrepreneurs of the future. The University of the West of England is a very dynamic University that interfaces well with business and it is a pleasure to be able to support their initiatives.”

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