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Graduate Internships, a business perspective

We spoke to the National Federation of Roofing Contractors about working with a graduate intern and how to make the most of the opportunity

The Graduate Internship Programme at LSBU gives SMEs the chance to work with a recent graduate for a set period of time.The students benefit from putting their learning into practice and improving their CV, while the organisation benefits from extra resource and the fresh insight, enthusiasm and professionalism that LSBU graduates possess in abundance.

One organisation that has recently benefitted from the programme is the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC). Trade Association Manager Debbie Simcock tells us about their experience with their intern Miguel John

Selecting the right candidate

The NFRC found out about the programme thanks to their existing links with LSBU: “We thought it would be a good initiative to be involved with.” 

In order to match the NFRC with the most suitable candidates, LSBU undertook shortlisting on behalf of the organisation, recommending three candidates for interview.  “LSBU then went a step further when it came to the interviews,” says Debbie. “A member of staff sat in on the interviews with us, offering an extra viewpoint, which helped us to make a decision quickly.”

The market research project

The successful candidate, Miguel John, worked on several projects for NFRC, which will have a lasting impact on the organisation. One such task was a market research and benchmarking report, something he was able to deliver for the NFRC thanks to the marketing specialisation he had undertaken as part of his degree. 

“The report collected data that we had not previously had access to,” says Debbie. “It’s going to become the basis for a more in-depth analysis, carried out by a consultancy.”

Intern versus temp

One of the advantages that hiring an LSBU intern over a temp, Debbie feels, is the opportunity for the intern to work intensively and focus on specific projects: “We felt that the focus on specific projects was a more worthwhile route to take, which is how we came to engage with the programme,” she explains.

Advice for businesses taking on interns

Debbie feels that to get the most out of an internship, as NFRC did with Miguel, it pays to be prepared. “There are a few bits of advice I would pass on to other companies which can really help you to make the internship a success for both parties – it’s a great thing to be involved with and I’m delighted that Miguel took so much away from the time he spent with us.”

Debbie’s checklist for a successful internship:

  • Be prepared! The internship passes quickly, so plan what you want, and estimate how long each task will take.
  • Carry out a full induction, making sure that your intern knows how to use all the programmes and equipment they will need to fulfil their role.
  • Hold regular meetings – a weekly debrief can help both you and the intern, and reviewing progress and offering feedback helps make sure you are using their skills efficiently.

If you would like to work with an LSBU graduate intern, complete this application form by 30 September 2016.