bristol university How Bristol University is Supporting Covid-hit SMEs

Bristol’s top academic institution is once again providing some much-needed support for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The University of Bristol is currently running the Covid-19 SME Internship Fund whereby SMEs throughout the UK can apply for one of 100 internships.

The goal of the scheme is to give struggling businesses a boost with promising young talent. Participating interns will also get practical work experience that will prepare them for their careers entering a job market that has drastically shifted.

Businesses that qualify for the fund will offer internships to current University of Bristol students and alumni who graduated within the last 15 months.

The scheme gives preference to companies that show what pandemic-related adjustments they have made and how an internship would help them. Organisations that can keep an intern beyond the funding period will receive extra credit.

Supporting SMEs and Students

Over 2000 firms, students, and recent graduates applied in a similar scheme last year, with over 100 businesses directly benefiting from the initiative.

Robotics research company Indus Four, pay software firm GapSquare, and independent publication Bristol 24/7 were some of the SMEs that took advantage of last year’s scheme to buoy their businesses right as the country went into lockdown. 

According to Bristol 24/7 editor Martin Booth, “The opportunity for a funded internship is one that we will undoubtedly take again. I have no doubt that the calibre of both University of Bristol students and recent graduates will once again ensure that we can give them invaluable real-world experience, while they become a genuine asset to the work that we do.”

Meanwhile, University of Bristol graduate Joe Abbott had this to say of his experience interning for marketing company Scribeless: “Having just completed my integrated master’s degree in Chemistry, I was able to use the analytical and research skills I developed to transition smoothly into a role in data analytics and marketing strategy.”

“With no prior experience of marketing, and little knowledge of how a start-up like Scribeless runs day-to-day, I was able to see the inner workings of the business and the hard work that the team does to ensure the quality of products are continually improving and being delivered to happy customers,” he added.

History of Help

Last year’s success stories fuelled the expansion of this year’s scheme from Bristol-based businesses to accept any firm in the country as long as they allow remote work. 

Professor Sarah Purdy, University of Bristol Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience, remarked on the history of the university’s student internship programme.

“We’ve been funding student internships for nearly 10 years, as we do all we can to support our students to be as employable as possible,” Purdy said. “It’s been great to hear first-hand not just how much the students enjoy their time at these SMEs, but also how their skills and fresh approach can really make an impact to the organisations involved.”

Interested businesses can view the University of Bristol’s Careers Service internship document for more details.

Bristol Boosting British Businesses

Bristol has long been a hub for entrepreneurship, with solid backing from the public sector and prestigious universities. 

Incubators, mentorships, networking events, grants, and enterprise zones are aplenty in the city, while both the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol provide placement programmes for their students and local businesses. 

It’s no surprise then that Bristol has stepped up to aid ailing industries in unprecedented times. If there is any city in the UK that SMEs can put their trust in to navigate the current harsh economic conditions, it’s going to be Bristol.

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