[03 March 2024]

Blog: Is an internship right for my business? The answer you’re looking for is YES!

Recognising the benefits of internships, many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are starting to bring interns into their businesses. Companies see it not only as a route to source extra support on their projects, but also as an opportunity to attract top talent.

In my role as Employer Engagement Advisor at the University of Hull, I have had the pleasure of seeing many students flourish in their internship roles – providing them with on-the-job experience in their field of interest and bridging the gap between the lecture room and the professional world.

However, it is not just the interns that reap the rewards. What’s more, internships bring vast benefits to the employer by filling vital skills gaps, supplying dedicated support for a particular project, and saving on recruitment costs.

In my role as an advisor for the European Funded Humber Internship Programme, I saw the advantages internship programmes brought to businesses, particularly SMEs who don’t have access to a large talent pool and often don’t have the available resource to dedicate to a particular project. Funding opportunities open so much potential for businesses, which is why I am delighted to be working on a new internship programme, funded by UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and powered by Levelling Up.

Through its delivery by the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre, the new Humber Innovation Support Fund (HISP) provides businesses with internship support and/or specialist Research and Development expertise to help drive innovation. The funding will pay for an intern at a minimum rate of National Living Wage (NLW) for a 12-week duration up to 15 hours per week. Just think what could be achieved within that time!

If you still need convincing, here are some of the top benefits an intern can bring to your business;

#1 Plugging the skills gap

Finding the right skills is a challenge that all businesses face.

The bright minds of the future are looking to apply their skills and start making their mark on the world of work. They bring an abundance of the latest skills and knowledge across a wide range of areas – engineers, data analysts, software developers, marketeers, IT technicians… the range of talent ready for you to tap into is endless.

Internships also provide the opportunity to ‘try before you buy.’ Businesses can establish if a role taken by an intern is essential to their operations, and if so, if the chosen intern is the right fit for the job or whether a different skill set is required altogether!

#2 Ease of use of technology

In this modern era, new professionals often find it much easier to incorporate technology in their work routines. You could almost say they are hard wired for success!

Having grown up in a digital era, new professionals usually have a good understanding of the latest technologies and social media trends, which can support your business by developing efficient processes and technologically dynamic practices, enhancing your day-to-day productivity.

#3 You will gain fresh perspective

Interns often bring exciting ideas and fresh perspectives to your business. They may have a different approach to problem-solving or innovative insights that can benefit your company.

#4 Additional resource to accomplish innovation goals

If you have a short-term project that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile because of a lack of skills or knowledge in that area, or lack of resource to dedicate to the project, an intern can help provide that additional resource and dedicate their skills to help deliver a business need.

#5 Talent Pipeline

Internship programs can serve as a talent pipeline for future full-time hires. It is a great way to see how much potential a student or recent graduate has in the field, and if they perform well and make a great fit in your company culture, you may choose to offer them a permanent position after graduation.

Ultimately, by employing an intern, you are helping to launch the careers of the next generation which is invaluable to the region’s economic growth.

If I have been able to convince you that an intern would be right for your business, please contact me at the Aura Innovation Centre to discuss your options.

Paul Thorpe, Innovation Manager (Internships), Aura Innovation Centre