Santander Internships in Student Enterprise; an innovative take on the traditional intern.

Santander Universities is known for its successful internship programme, enabling Universities to make great matches and support the knowledge exchange agenda within their own institution.

In 2020, University of Surrey Student Enterprise became involved with the programme, working with our Employability & Careers service to find students and recent graduates plus suitable Start Ups and SMEs from within our ecosystem who have exciting intern opportunities.

Matching talent and knowledge with industry

Some fantastic matches were made earlier in the year, including a photography enthusiast that was teamed with a Student Enterprise amigurumi crochet business, which made for some excellent new imagery to boost their sales!

Founder of Beardie & Blondie, Jordon, said of the internship scheme:

“We would not have been able to hire an intern without the help of the University of Surrey Student Enterprise and Santander. It has allowed us to move forward on plans to revamp the online presence of our products whilst maintaining the business and creating new designs.
Alim quickly captured the essence of our business in a rebranding document. He has brought fresh creative energy and has been consistently producing high-quality work. His photos are stunning, fun and going to make a big difference to our business overall.”

Jordan Graham, Beardie & Blondie.
Digital intern, Alim has created high quality, bespoke imagery for Beardie & Blondie as part of his Santander internship with them

Alim, who was funded as an intern by the Santander scheme also found there to be huge benefits:

I enjoyed the internship with Beardie and Blondie Crochet as it introduced me to a whole new world of crafts which, together with photography, was extremely enjoyable. It had an interesting structure and looking back on the experience, starting off by researching a business area which I originally had no idea about to then critically discuss and advise the knowledgeable founders for a value-added action plan and then to actually execute it was very rewarding.

Alim Haque, final year Accounting & Finance undergraduate.

A creative approach to the traditional intern role

For some of the companies who wanted to offer an intern role, the traditional 4-week full-time internship just wouldn’t work, and for some of the students it was better to spread out the work over the summer months. Santander’s progressive approach and supportive Relationship Manager, Holly Price, enabled us to offer bespoke packages that best suited the companies and interns, and also allowed us to achieve the maximum benefit. A great example of this is a dual internship we created for two interns to share funding and work together with complementary skill sets to deliver the best possible outcome for their employer.

Creating digital interns as a response to the covid crisis

When offered a further generous injection of cash from Santander in the form of a covid relief fund, Student Enterprise decided to build on its 7 successful earlier matches and use some of the new fund to roll out a brand new Digital Internship Programme.

To date we have matched a further 10 students and recent graduates to Start Ups and SMEs that are incubated within the University of Surrey Student Enterprise or our sister incubator Surrey SETSquared, but furthermore to some local charities who are in desperate need at this time.

The benefits of the programme have been manifold. Beyond the obvious benefits of employment, students and recent graduates whose degree programmes and employment prospects have been turned on their heads due to the unfolding covid pandemic have been able to find hope and meaningful paid activity over the summer months; struggling Start Ups have had support to help them survive during corona times and 4 Guildford-based charities, Challengers, Oakleaf, GRACE and Riverside have been gifted the human resource they need to respond digitally to the changing demands of the charity sector where fundraising has been hit hard and awareness is key.

Mental Health charity Oakleaf found the perfect intern in Rosie, an International Events Management second year student who wanted to use her summer to help a local charity that offers mental health advice and support to students as well as other local people. Rosie has been working with the fundraising team at Oakleaf on a new charity running event aimed at raising much needed cash to make up for the lost income the charity have faced during lockdown in the UK, where none of Oakleaf’s planned fundraising events could go ahead.

Oakleaf’s Santander Digital Intern, Rosie, is working from home on a fundraising campaign called “Side with 17”

“Having Rosie intern with us gives us the extra resource to engage with existing and new supporters in innovative ways as we weather the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on our clients and funding streams.”

Jen Clay, Fundraising and Partnerships Manager, Oakleaf

A lasting positive impact

Of the many and varied internships we’ve created from Santander funding this Spring/Summer, some have been completed, others are just getting started. However there is no doubt that with the quality of the students and graduates, the commitment of the organisations who have created such great opportunities and the financial backing of Santander, this programme will have a vast and lasting positive impact on our innovation and business ecosystems within the University and beyond.

If you are interested in a offering an opportunity to an intern, or in becoming an intern yourself, please sign up to the Student Enterprise newsletter to hear about all future opportunities.