Information for SMEs

Would you like access to a talented pool of enthusiastic students and graduates?

Attracting and retaining the very best talent is important for most organisations.
Through the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme, Keele will work with you to find an intern who matches the needs of your business. If the match is right for both of you, you could even employ them on a permanent basis.
An internship can be an excellent way to inject some fresh student or graduate talent into your organisation and is less risky than taking on permanent staff from day one. An internship is ideal for trialling a longer-term recruit into your organisation. We can offer you advice on how to make the most of offering an internship.
Keele University offers a free of charge recruitment service, and provides some funding towards the intern wages - this is kindly provided by Santander - read more about their work here. Keele's Internship scheme is now in its eighth year, and over 500 internships have been offered through the scheme.
Ready to offer an internship?  
Not-for-profit organisations
Please note that the FAQs below are relevant to commercial organisations, and are not relevant to not-for-profit organisations

It's a short period of employment in a specific role that enables you to bring the latest student and graduate talent into your organisation. For the student or graduate, it's a chance to gain some additional skills and experience. For both of you, it can be an excellent way to see if you are suited in the longer term.

All Internships through Keele University are paid (we do not support unpaid work), we can offer salary advice if required.

The internship can be as short as 4 weeks (or 140 hours) or up to 8 weeks (280 hours), and can be done on either on a full time or part time basis.

Shorter roles, and roles that can be done on a part time hours basis would be advertised to our current students - they are interested in roles that can be done on a flexible basis to fit around their studies. Over the summer they can do full time roles and this can be a good opportunity for you to take on an intern. Summer is end of May/June to mid-September.

Longer term roles and full time roles would appeal more to our graduates as they are generally seeking a view to permanent position.

We provide advice on who, and how to attract to your role, just get in touch and we will support you through the process -

The scheme runs all year round, and we have students and graduates from a wide range of disciplines, including Business/Finance, Marketing/Media, Science-based and IT.

Keele Internships is open to organisations with 250 employees or less which have an annual turnover of £50million or less. Your organisation must be registered and based in the UK.  Eligible organisations include companies, sole traders and partnerships.

A wide range of degrees are offered at Keele University, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and students will have a range of career aspirations and interests.  We have successfully matched students and graduates to organisations offering opportunities in the following areas:

  • Business/Management/Finance/Accounting/Human Resource Management
  • Marketing/PR
  • Policy/Research projects
  • Technical/IT
  • Scientific/Environmental

Please contact us with your specific requirements, we will be happy to discuss with you.

  • Initial consultation with you to discuss your requirements
  • Advice on salary, length of internship, skill sets available
  • Advertising of your role on relevant media
  • Sifting and shortlisting of students/graduates against your job description
  • Funding of up to £1,260* toward the student/graduate's wages (eligible companies)
  • Once we have sent you the most suitable students/graduates, it's over to you to arrange interviews directly. You make the final choice of candidate.

*Funding:  Keele will part-fund internships that are at least 4 weeks long (140 hours) and up to 8 weeks (280 hours). This is based on you paying the student or graduate at least £9 per hour, with Keele/Santander contributing £4.50 per hour. For 4 week (140 hours) internships, our contribution will be £630. For 8 week (280 hours) our contribution will be £1,260.. Should you wish to pay your intern more than £9 per hour (which might be advisable particularly if you are looking to attract a graduate for a longer term role), our contribution is fixed at £4.50 per hour up to the maximum of 280 hours.

Once we have shortlisted and sent you suitable candidates to consider for interview, it is up to you to arrange interviews directly with them.  It becomes too complicated with dates and arrangements for us to be involved.  If you wish to interview at Keele campus we will do our best to arrange an interview room for you (no cost for this).

As an employing organisation, you will be responsible for:

  • Providing a suitable job description/person specification (we can assist with this if needed)
  • We will need you to complete a short form, and include your job description
  • Arranging interviews, selection and supervision of the intern (we can help you to hold interviews at Keele if you wish)
  • Employing the student and paying them a minimum of £9 per hour on a PAYE basis – please note that interns are your employees with the same rights as other temporary employees, and so are legally entitled to the pro-rata holiday entitlement for the period that they work.  The statutory minimum leave works out as follows:
    • For a 140 hours internship, their entitlement is 16 hours and 53 minutes of paid leave.
    • For a 280 hours internship, the leave entitlement is 33 hours and 46 minutes
    • As per statute, leave not taken would be payable in lieu.
  • Be willing to provide feedback on the internship

Keele Internships is proud of its successful engagement with companies who take on students and graduates.  We can guide you through the process, but here are a few key areas that we feel are important to establish a valuable experience for both you and the graduate intern:

Before the Internship:

  • Provide a clear and concise job description - outlining the main duties of the post
  • Give a meaningful job title - best to keep it simple
  • If you are advertising a full time view-to-permanent role – offer a rate of pay appropriate to the role (we can advise on this) and ensure that you articulate on your job description any potential career and salary progression in your organisation.

During the internship:

  • A structured induction to the internship
  • Appropriate support to the student or graduate, especially during the first few days/weeks
  • Maintain contact with Keele if you need any further support